Michael Lynn, the former quarterback of Lansing Catholic High School, made national headlines last year for taking part in a movement that was made famous by ex-NFL quarterback, Colin Kaepernick – kneeling during the National Anthem.
Because Lynn protested the National Anthem, he was denied a starting role by his coaching staff. Lynn said he was heavily targeted during the football season because of his position.
“It definitely put a target on my back,” Lynn said. “I was getting targeted, late hits, I was getting called names and stuff during games.
But the concern for Lynn’s safety extended beyond the football field and into his everyday life.
“My parents wouldn’t even let me go out alone,” Lynn said. “Just because they didn’t want someone to see me and recognize me from the news and hurt me.”
However, Lynn said he would not be scared off by others. For him, this was a movement that he had to pick up.
“I picked up the target on my back so others wouldn’t have to because I knew I could take it,” Lynn said.
Months after the football season ended, Lynn’s voice as a public figure has grown. He has recently expanded into other issues he views as unjust, such as involving himself in the hot gun control debate that has been at the center of the media since the Stoneman-Douglas school shooting in February. Lynn recently spoke in front of thousands at the March for our Lives in Lansing.
“I did this, and I picked up this movement for Lansing, for my young brothers in Lansing,” Lynn said. “So to have a chance to come affect so many people and to actually have them feel what I’m saying and to love what I’m saying, it’s surreal, honestly.”
Lynn spoke alongside his teammate, Kabbash Richards, who also took part in the anthem protest along with Lynn.
“It’s just so beautiful knowing that people are listening,” Richards said.
For Lynn and Richards, their goal is to bring people together to advance society as a cohesive whole.
“We’re all humans, we need to love each other,” Lynn said. “So we’re all going through some stuff.”
Since Lynn is graduating in June and moving on to play football at Concordia University in Ann Arbor, Richards, a junior, is confident there is a number of ready to fill his shoes.
“When he’s gone, I’m going to be doing exactly what he’s doing,” said Richards. “And when I’m gone, there’s going to be others.”
Both Lynn and Richards have been using the spotlight they’ve been thrusted in to voice their on various issues including gun control and racial inequality. However, this isn’t just a fad for the two.
“This is not just a moment, it’s a movement,” Richards said.
As far as what’s next for the duo remains up in the air. However, both plan to keep using their voice to stand up injustices in their lives.