Chargers to link arms during national anthem again Sunday

COSTA MESA, Calif. -- In a sign of unity, Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn told reporters Friday that his team will link arms for a second straight week during the national anthem Sunday when the Bolts face the Philadelphia Eagles.

“Last week, the guys wanted to do something to show we were against divisive remarks by anybody and to stand together as one unit, and we decided to stick with it,” Lynn said.

While most Chargers players and coaches stood arm in arm along the sideline, six players sat or knelt during the national anthem before the team’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs last Sunday, in solidarity with hundreds of players across the league silently protesting in response to President Donald Trump criticizing players taking a stand against racial injustice.

Chris McCain, Melvin Ingram and Tenny Palepoi knelt, while Brandon Mebane, Damion Square and Darius Philon sat during the anthem.

However, Lynn said he expects all players to stand in union before their home game on Sunday. Lynn said he’ll also participate in a meeting with Los Angeles police officers next week to discuss ways the Chargers can help improve police relationships in different communities.

“I expect everybody’s attention to be on the Eagles,” Lynn said. “We’re going to play football. There’s so many things you can do. We just want to get back to playing football and get the politics out.”

Mebane said Lynn and the rest of his teammates discussed what they would do during the anthem in a meeting Friday morning, and that although he doesn’t know if 100 percent of the players will participate, the plan is that he will stand with the rest of his teammates Sunday.

But now that he’s got the nation’s attention, Mebane, a Los Angeles native who attended Crenshaw High School, intends to shift his focus to education and providing resources to his underserved community.

Mebane contrasted inner city Crenshaw High to the plush, recently built campus of Cathedral Catholic High that he used to live nearby in San Diego.

“That high school is off the charts, man,” Mebane said. “I was like, God, I couldn’t believe that was a high school. I was saying, give my high school [Crenshaw] what Cathedral Catholic has, or something like that.”

Mebane and his wife, Amena, are from the same neighborhood and would like to create programs focused on providing better nutrition to schools like Crenshaw. Mebane said the couple offered a similar program in Seattle while he played for the Seattle Seahawks.

Mebane also talked about sponsoring kids for Sylvan Learning Center to help with their reading, something that he struggled with growing up. Sylvan was helpful for Mebane overcoming that issue.

And Mebane also said he would like to see the police work to create better relationships with citizens in the communities they serve.

He provided an example of that, when after the Rodney King riots in 1992, police would hand out Los Angeles Dodgers baseball cards to kids as a way to break the ice and serve as a starting point to conversations.

“I think the relationship with the police is that if they’re in an environment where they don’t know, the first thing they see is danger,” Mebane said. “So I think the thing they need to understand is if you’re in this community, you have to get to know the people who are in the community. That’s where a lot of the issues come up.”