Michael Bennett plans to keep protesting the national anthem this season to bring awareness to the inequality and bigotry that still exist in the United States.
And the Seattle Seahawks defensive end believes that message would be even clearer if white players joined him.
“It would take a white player to really get things changed because when somebody from the other side understands and they step up and they speak up about it … it would change the whole conversation,” Bennett said on ESPN’s “SC6” on Wednesday. “Because when you bring somebody who doesn’t have to be a part of (the) conversation making himself vulnerable in front of it, I think when that happens, things will really take a jump.”
Bennett told hosts Jemele Hill and Michael Smith that he decided to start his protest before the Seahawks’ preseason game Sunday in response to the events in Charlottesville, Va., that happened a mere 24 hours earlier. But the 31-year-old believes others have backed off now that Colin Kaepernick, who began the movement, is out of a job.
“He had to sacrifice,” Bennett said of Kaepernick. “He spoke up and dealt with a lot of things that were going on — from death threats, people not wanting him in the stadium, people hating him. I think a lot of players were scared of that. Then on top of that, players feeling like he was being blackballed, people were eventually scared.
“But now, just because he’s out of the league, we didn’t want to lose that message, pushing for liberty and equality for everybody. We just wanted to keep that message alive.”
Bennett also made his objective clear once again, saying the Seahawks on Wednesday hosted some military guests who hugged him and said they trusted him.
“People make this divide like I’m trying to disrespect the military,” Bennett said. “And they come to me and say this is what they’re fighting for. It just touched my heart.”
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