Message of love, unity spreading in Raiders' locker room

Derek Carr and Khalil Mack are using the pregame anthem to show the world how connected and united they are. D. Ross Cameron/AP

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Derek Carr's hand on Khalil Mack's shoulder during the national anthem Saturday night was meant as a symbol of unity.

Shalom Luani was merely praying while taking a knee before rising and Marshawn Lynch still won't say why he sat during the Star Spangled Banner for the second consecutive week, but Oakland Raiders offensive coordinator Todd Downing explained why he had a hand on fullback Jamize Olawale's shoulder.

Think Carr and Mack.

"I think I surprised [Olawale] a little bit," Downing said. "I knew some other guys were planning on showing their unity. It certainly wasn't a protest or statement or anything like that. It was kind of a reaction ... to seeing what we have going on as a team, such a great unity and a team chemistry that when you see other guys like Derek and Khalil [Mack] doing it."

It was a matter of proximity and proclivity.

"I looked over and there was Maze, a guy who works his tail off for us, gets no credit from anybody," Downing said. "Shows up every day and works his tail off. Does anything we ask him to do, and beyond that is a great person. I just walked over and put my hand on him. Wasn't anything more than showing that he's a guy I love."

Love was the message du jour in the Raiders' locker room after their second preseason game. It is what Carr and Mack said their showing was exactly about.

And Carr said he has heard nothing but encouraging responses since.

"It's been 100 percent positive," Carr said. "I haven't had one person say they didn't like it because, again, Khalil and I were not protesting our country; we love our country, but we know it's imperfect, so we just wanted to show that we love each other and that that's OK, and that actually it's right.

"That's all we wanted to do, so honestly, if someone is mad at that, we're going to have to question them."