Michael Bennett is the latest NFL player to take a stand – or a seat in this case – toward social inequality.
As former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick did last season, the Seattle Seahawks defensive lineman silently protested the national anthem Sunday before a game against the Los Angeles Chargers in Carson, the first game in the team’s temporary new home after leaving San Diego.
Although Bennett protested by sitting on the bench with a towel over his head, he said he still loves many American values.
“First of all, I want to make sure that people understand I love the military. My father was in the military,” Bennett told The News Tribune of Tacoma, Wash., after the game, a 48-17 win for the Seahawks. “I love hot dogs, like any other American, I love football like any other American.
“But I don’t love segregation. I don’t love riots. I don’t love oppression. I don’t love gender slander. And I just want to see people have equality that they deserve.”
Bennett expects backlash for his action, but the point is to make people “uncomfortable.”
“Everybody’s in their comfort zone right now,” he said. “Become uncomfortable, and go out and see what it’s like in society right now.”
Bennett’s refusal to stand comes a day after Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch protested the anthem.
“I just wanted to be able to use my platform to be able to continue to speak on injustice,” Bennett said.
Fans and critics used Twitter as their platform to share their take: