Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett sat during the national anthem in the preseason opener against the LA Chargers on Sunday, vowing to continue to do so throughout the 2017 NFL season. He held up that promise on Friday against the Minnesota Vikings in the Seahawks’ preseason home debut. Bennett was following in the footsteps of former teammate Marshawn Lynch — as well as the currently unemployed Colin Kaepernick — who sat during the anthem on Saturday and is expected to do so again this Saturday against the LA Rams in Oakland.
Justin Britt stood next to Bennett as he sat for the anthem. Jeremy Lane was next to him as well.
I interviewed Bennett and Marshawn’s agent Doug Hendrickson about who they are as men and the example they’re setting for other players around the league who are less inclined to do something that may draw negative attention towards them: “These guys are not afraid to speak their minds and they live the way they want to live. Right, wrong, or indifferent, you gotta respect that. Very rarely do you get two superstar players at the forefront trying to make change, whether it be socially or politically. We haven't seen it from a lot of people. A lot of star athletes don't do it."
Bennett called for white players around the NFL to join them in the movement and that it would make a huge difference in how some people would view this particular non-violent protest. Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long put his arm around teammate Malcolm Jenkins during the anthem as Jenkins raised a single fist.
Never met you, but respect the heck out of you Chris Long. pic.twitter.com/Kbi2P725UV— Emmanuel Acho (@thEMANacho) August 18, 2017
Chris Long explains why he put an arm around Malcolm Jenkins during his national anthem protest. pic.twitter.com/trwjTcuHkT— SB Nation (@SBNation) August 18, 2017
Last season, Lane sat during the national anthem and kicker Steven Hauschka admitted he was uncomfortable with the subject as a white person who couldn’t fully identify with the struggles of his black teammates. Britt showed support by being near him with a hand on his shoulder, but stood.