Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett decided to kneel when the national anthem was played during Sunday’s preseason game. On Monday, he explained why:
I want people to understand that I love the military. I love my brothers in the military. I love the hot dogs like every 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 they deserve. I want to be able to use this platform to continuously push the message of that. How can we continuously love one another and understand that people are different.? And just because they’re different doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t like them — because they don’t smell the way that you smell, they don’t eat what you eat. Just because they don’t pray to the same God you pray to doesn’t mean you should hate them. Whether it’s Muslim, whether it’s Buddhist, whether it’s Christianity, whatever it is I just want people to understand that no matter where we’re in this thing together. It’s more about being a human being at this point.
Bennett made this more expansion statement following his decision to kneel during the game.
The move comes after Bennett criticized the NFL for not signing Kaepernick, via Seattle Times:
“Of course he’s being blackballed,’’ Bennett said. “Nobody likes race and politics in sports. That’s one of those things nobody wants to talk about, and for him to bring race and politics in sports it struck a lot of people the wrong way.’’
Bennett’s former teammate Marshawn Lynch stirred up the NFL as well on Saturday evening before the Oakland Raiders preseason contest, opting to sit for the national anthem than stand. After head coach Jack Del Rio spoke out on Lynch’s past of standing or sitting during the national anthem and pictures seemed to contradict that idea, former NFL wideout Andrew Hawkins has pushed back:
Here’s Lynch sitting Saturday night.
When asked about the decision, here’s what Del Rio said:
“Talked to Marshawn. Wanted to make sure we’re on the same page. He said ‘This is something I’ve done for 11 years. It’s not a form of anything other than me being myself.’ I said, ‘Just so you understand how I feel, I very strongly believe in standing for the national anthem, but I’m going to respect you as a man. You do your thing, OK?’ So that’s a non-issue for me.”
Apparently he just hasn’t done it, at least consistently over the last 11 years:
Last season, during Kaepernick’s controversial decision to kneel during the national anthem, here’s what Lynch said, as transcribed by CBS Sports:
“I’d rather see him take a knee than stand up, put his hands up, and get murdered,” he said at the time. “So, I mean, my take on it is, [expletive]’s got to start somewhere, and if that was the starting point, I just hope people open up their eyes to see that there’s really a problem going on, and something needs to be done for it to stop. And I mean, if you’re really not racist then you won’t see what he’s done, what he’s doing, as a threat to America, but just addressing a problem that we have.”
As Kaepernick still struggles to find work, let’s see if Lynch continues with his decision.