Seahawks Pro Bowl defensive end Michael Bennett started what he said will be his season-long refusal to stand for the national anthem on Sunday before his team’s preseason victory over the Los Angeles Chargers.
“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.
The racial protests Saturday in Charlottesville, Va., which led to death and injuries, helped foster his decision to sit for the anthem, Bennett said.
Those actions didn’t drive enough attention, which is why Bennett said that he decided to not stand for the playing of the national anthem before games — a gesture that has evoked emotions, supportive and not.
Kaepernick’s decision to not stand for the national anthem before a preseason game last season drew ire and praise but also made him a lightning rod for controversy, which still resounds loudly.
He said he expects negative backlash but that he feels he must stand up for his beliefs by not standing for the anthem.
Bennett said he did not speak to his former teammate, Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch, who did not stand for the playing of the national anthem during Saturday’s loss against the Cardinals.
Some added that he usually did not stand or wasn’t on the field during the national anthem when he played for the team.
Seahawks officials said it was never brought to their attention when Lynch didn’t stand for the national anthem that it was any type of protest.