NFL Pro Bowler Michael Bennett to sit out national anthem all season

Andrew McLean

Michael Bennett is known for being outspoken. This season, don’t expect things to change as he plans to sit out the national anthem to help shine a light on this country’s injustices.

In the 2016 NFL season, the name Colin Kaepernick was at the tip of every football fan’s tongue, at one point or another. Kaepernick chose to not stand during the national anthem, due to what he felt was injustice in the judicial system, by not holding cops accountable for shooting unarmed black men.

The NFL is a week into the preseason, with less than a month until the regular season starts and Kaepernick is not on an NFL roster. Although he is 29, in his prime, and threw for 16 touchdowns, ran for two, and only had 4 interceptions, he is without an NFL job.

Betty Shelby, former Tulsa P.D officer, shot and killed TeranceCrutcher after his car broke down in the middle of a highway. Crutcher was unarmed and looking for help. Shelby was found not guilty, resigned from Tulsa P.D. and has since been hired as a deputy with a neighboring police department.

In addition to this situation, Kaepernick can’t get an NFL job because he spoke out against unjust murders by law enforcement. It seems from this incident, speaking out against killing black people is far worse for one’s career than killing an unarmed black person.

Though dozens of players protested the anthem, Kaepernick was the perceived ring leader, and now he’s paying the price. A price many NFL players are willing to help him pay, including Michael Bennett and Marshawn Lynch.

Michael Bennett was seen sitting on the bench with a towel over his during the national anthem of the Seattle Seahawks vs. Los Angeles Chargers preseason game, Sunday afternoon.

After the exhibition game, a litany of reporters asked Bennett about his stance. Bennett gave a detailed, intelligent response on why he made the decision to not stand during the national anthem.

“I hope that I can activate everybody to get off their hands and feet…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.

“Charlottesville had a lot to do with it but I think it’s just the journey of who I am as a person. I think everybody has a time where they feel like they need to be who they are and stand up for what they believe in.”

Michael Bennett

Marshawn Lynch didn’t comment on the reason he sat during the anthem. Lynch has had an estranged relationship with the media, ever since his rookie year with the Buffalo BIlls.

Bennett and his brother Martellus, tight end for the Green Bay Packers, are sons of a military veteran. There were raised strict but with the support from their families to be themselves and to speak up if they feel something is wrong.

Bennett, Kaepernick, and Lynch are all fighting for the same thing, equality, not just in the NFL but in this country. Their goal would be taken more seriously if this stance wasn’t only held by NFL players with dark skin complexions.

Dozens of NFL players, other than the three named, spoke out against blatant injustices carried out by police upon unarmed black citizens. However, it seems this issue was either only recognized by black NFL players, or other players felt it’s not their problem to address.

This is a problem the country should tackle as a whole. However, the faces of the NFL; Aaron Rodgers, J.J. Watt, Eli Manning, Andrew Luck, and Ben Roethlisberger to name a few, have remained silent in the face of oppression.

It’s a lot to ask of anyone to make such a stance, many players even those from communities that fall victim to unlawful oppression remained silent for the reason that their money is more important than voicing their opinion. Thankfully not all players feel that way.

Join 1 other in the discussion

to comment