Sport

Michael Bennett explains decision to sit during National Anthem

Michael Bennett explains decision to sit during National Anthem”

"I love hot dogs, like any other American, I love football like any other American".

Bennett said his decision had been influenced by violence between white supremacists and anti-fascist protestors in Charlottesville, Virginia.

"It's going to take the organization", Bennett said earlier this month when asked what it will take for a team to sign Kaepernick.

"I just wanted to be able to use my platform to be able to continue to speak on injustice", Bennett said.

Bennett, Seahawks teammate Richard Sherman and several other players and analysts have publicly stated they believe Kaepernick is being blackballed by the NFL for his National Anthem protest and his candor in discussing social justice issues.

His actions come after former Seahawk team-mate Marshawn Lynch sat during the anthem prior to the Oakland Raiders exhibition clash with the Arizona Cardinals on Saturday, though he claims he has been doing so for 11 years. Kaepernick opted out of his contract in the offseason and remains unsigned.

Last season, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick drew a heavy dose of criticism for his decision to first remain seated, and then to kneel, during the playing of the National Anthem. Bennett did not single out law enforcement or any particular group as someone or something he disagreed with but instead said Americans need to try and bridge prejudices and stop acts of hatred. This is bigger than me. This is bigger than anything that we have any different. This is about people. This is about bringing opportunities to people, giving people equality. "This is bigger than a sport".

"Now if you told me this guy threw eight pick-sixes past year and played like a bum, had no talent, that's one thing".

"I said: 'So you understand how I feel". Coach Pete Carroll didn't learn Bennett had stayed seated during the anthem until after he addressed the team following the game.

On the reaction he expects to receive, Bennett added: "Of course I'm going to face a backlash". In the process, he hopes to spur greater communication, understanding and involvement across racial, gender and socio-economic lines.

"Everybody's in their comfort zone right now", he said. "Get out there and become uncomfortable". "Sit down with somebody that's the opposite sex, sit down with somebody that's the opposite race, different religion and understand that people are different and go out and join the community and try to change the society, change what you're a part of".



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