Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett plans to carry on the tradition of sitting during the national anthem started by former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
And it has already begun. Here he can be seen sitting during the last Seahawks preseason game:
— Dennis Bernstein (@DennisTFP) August 14, 2017
His former teammate, Marshawn Lynch also sat for the national anthem before the Oakland Raiders played the Arizona Cardinals.
Bennett says he is protesting “injustice” and was particularly angry about what transpired in Charlottesville, VA and Donald Trump’s response:
“The last week, with everything that’s been going on in the last couple months—especially after the last couple days seeing everything in (Charlottesville) Virginia…just wanted to be able to continue to use my platform to be able to speak on injustice,” Bennett told reporters.
“First of all, I want to make sure that people understand I love the military. My father was in the military. I love hot dogs, like any other American. I love football like any other American,” he added. “But I don’t love segregation. I don’t love riots. I don’t love oppression. I don’t love gender slander. And I just want to see people have equality that they deserve.”
Michael Freeman of Bleacher Reports reports that other players plan on protesting during the national anthem as a result of outrage over the recent violence in Charlottesville and President Donald Trump’s reaction.
Bennett’s brother, Martellus, refused to go to the White House after being invited following the New England Patriots’ Super Bowl victory.
Michael Bennett says he is doing this for the children as he pondered, “How can I inspire the youth? How can I change the culture?’ And this is what I want to do.”
Seattle head coach Pete Carroll said he was no aware of Bennett protesting the flag, but said he was just fine with him doing so:
Carroll has had several deep discussions with Bennett — he had no idea the protest was coming Sunday night — and they maintain an open and healthy dialogue. Carroll can offer suggestions on other ways Bennett might be able to get his point across, and he wants all of his players to stand for the anthem, but he respects the defensive end’s convictions. He spoke repeatedly about Bennett’s relentless outreach work whether it be in Haiti or Africa, of his work with military families in Hawaii, of his people-first worldview.
“I love our country and I think we should all stand for the opportunities when the flag is presented,” Carroll said, “but his heart is in a great place and he’s going to do great work well after the time he is with us and it’s easy for me to support him and his issues but I think we should be standing.”
Bennett also said there was only one side that is pushing hateful ideology:
“Only one side is breeding hate. … I won’t stand until everyone has justice. I won’t stand until everyone has freedom. … There is a point where silence is becoming dishonest. … I think people thought the [anthem protest] would go away because [Kaepernick] is out of the NFL. … I can’t hide behind the logo on my helmet and I can’t hide behind the [NFL] shield. … I want to bring up these issues and raise these conversations. … I honor the military. I grew up in a military family and I honor the military every time I see them. … I wish more people would stand up for what they believe in. If silence is what we have to do, I can’t do it anymore. … I am living this.”
NFL viewership was way down last year because of the protests against the national anthem. IT looks like the decline will continue until owners, coaches, and teammates start showing some courage against player who willingly disrespect the country.