Al Michaels suggested toward the end of NBC’s broadcast of the Washington Redskins vs. Oakland Raiders game on Sunday night that the Raiders obsession with protesting during the national anthem before the game may have contributed to their embarrassing loss to the Redskins.
“You know better than anybody, Chris. Coaches are always saying you got to focus,” Michaels said to his broadcasting partner Chris Collinsworth, who earlier had sounded sympathetic toward what the player had done.
“How much time did they spend thinking about what they are going to do [to protest at the national anthem]?” Michaels said.
According to the Associated Press, about 50 Raiders players sat or kneeled while the national anthem was played before the game at FedEx Field in Landover, Md. Only six Redskin kneeled; however most of the rest of the team locked arms with each other and owner Dan Snyder to show solidarity with the kneelers.
The Raiders never converted on third down in the entire game—going 0 for 11 in that situation. They earned only 32 yards on the ground for the entire game. The final score was 27-10.
Here are Al Michaels’ full remarks about how the Raiders turned their focus from playing football:
“You know better than anybody, Chris. Coaches are always saying you got to focus. Well, every team had a split focus this weekend, there is no question about it. Did it hurt the Raiders? You now, look, Michelle talked about it at the top of the game. How much time did they spend thinking about what they are going to do? So, I mean, instead of thinking about the game, they are thinking about what, you know—and they wanted to stay in the locker but because the format is different in a primetime game, they didn’t. I mean, you tell me.”