Seahawks Defensive End Bennett to Continue National Anthem Protest
By Brandon Simmons
Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick has yet to make a NFL roster this year, but his impact of protesting the national anthem has been felt amongst the players. The latest player who might carry this task out for the year is Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett. According to USA Today, Bennett sat during the national anthem from this past weekend’s preseason game against the Los Angeles Rams. He tells postgame reporters that he wanted people to be “uncomfortable” around the subject of race, in wake of the white supremacist march that took place in Virginia, which left 35 people injured and one person dead.
“Seeing everything in Virginia and stuff that is going on, I just wanted to be able to use my platform to continuously speak out on injustice,” Bennett explained.
Nobody on the team was aware of Bennett’s actions before the game, including his head coach, Pete Carroll. Carroll told the media that he only found out about it as he was “walking through the door.”
It’s not too ironic that Bennett is following the methods of Kaepernick. He was one of the leading the voices of signing the QB, when the former 49er tried out for the team during the offseason. Last year, Kaepernick began a protest against police brutality and injustice by kneeling during the national anthem during preseason games. The act garnered a lot of attention, both negative and positive, and some belive it may be the sole reason why teams have been reluctant to sign him. Bennett even went on a radio show in June and proclaimed that Kaepernick was being blackballed by the league for his stance. However, Bennett
“I don’t really want to try to get anyone else to follow me,” Bennett said. “I just want to do my own thing. Don’t want to be a distraction to my teammates, don’t want to be a distraction to the organization or Pete or anyone else on my team, but I’m just doing what I do when I feel it’s right. I’ve dedicated my life to doing this. … This is my purpose. This is what I believe in: Changing society, going into communities, doing organic work and continuing to push the message that things aren’t fair.”
Before Bennett, former Seahawk and current Oakland Raider Marshawn Lynch, sat during the national anthem. Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins raised his first in the air during the anthem as a form of protest. This story is about Bennett but speaks volumes as to what Kaepernick has done. Players have honored his actions by continuing his protest against the injustices that persist to this day.
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