Michael Bennett explains why he will continue sitting during national anthem
With a new NFL season unofficially underway, it has become clear that some players across the league will continue protesting the national anthem. Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett, who chose to sit during the pregame ritual over the weekend, is among those who have joined the movement.
Bennett sat on the bench with a towel draped over his head during Sunday’s preseason game against the Los Angeles Chargers.
— Dennis Bernstein (@DennisTFP) August 14, 2017
After Seattle’s 48-17 win, Bennett told reporters he plans to continue sitting during the national anthem and hopes to inspire people to become more involved with social issues in their communities.
“First of all, I want people to understand that I love the military,” Bennett said, via Eric D. Williams of ESPN.com. “My father’s in the military. I love hot dogs like any other American. I love football like any other American. But I don’t love segregation. I don’t love riots or oppression.
“I just want to see people have the equality that they deserve. And I want to be able to use this platform to continuously push the message of that.”
Bennett did not inform his coaches or teammates of his plans to make a political statement during the national anthem, but one Seahawks player told ESPN’s Jim Trotter that he is fine with the decision “as long as Michael is preaching love and not hate.”
“Let people attack me because they don’t believe what I believe in, but at the end of the day, I’m being vulnerable to show every person that no matter [what] you believe in, keep fighting for it,” Bennett said. “Keep fighting for equality. Keep fighting for oppressed people. And keep trying to change society.”
One of Bennett’s former teammates also sat on the bench during the national anthem before his game on Saturday, so we obviously haven’t seen the last of the protests.