Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett sat on the team’s bench with a towel over his head during the national anthem before Seattle’s preseason game against the L.A. Chargers at StubHub Center on Sunday night, ESPN.com reports.
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.@Seahawks Michael Bennett during anthem8:10 PM - Aug 13, 2017 · StubHub Center
Bennett often speaks out on social issues and supports Colin Kaepernick, who knelt during the national anthem before every 49ers game last season in protest of what he perceives as the oppression of black people in this country.
Bennett plans to sit during the national anthem for the entire seaosn, ESPN's Jim Trotter reported on SportsCenter.
"I want to be able to use this platform to continuously push the message ... of how unselfish you can be as a society," Bennett said after the Seahawks' 48-17 win. "How we can continuously love one another and understand that people are different; and just because they're different, it doesn't mean that you shouldn't like them. Because they don't smell the way you smell and they don't eat what you eat, because they don't pray to the same god that you pray to, doesn't mean that you should hate them. Whether it's Muslim or Buddhists or Christianity, whatever it is, I just want people to understand that no matter what we're in this thing together. It's more about being a human being at this point."
The Seahawks were not aware that Bennett was going to sit, according to Trotter. In fact, coach Pete Carroll didn't even realize he did it until after the game. One Seahawks official said he was okay with Bennett's stance, "as long as Michael is preaching love and not hate."
Meanwhile, Marshawn Lynch, Bennett’s former Seahawks teammate who now plays for the Raiders, sat on Oakland’s bench while eating a banana during the national anthem before Oakland’s game at Arizona on Saturday.
Raiders coach Jack Del Rio said Lynch told him he’s been sitting during the national anthem for 11 years, but Yahoo! Sports reported Lynch’s assertion “doesn’t appear to be accurate.” There are photos of Lynch standing for the anthem during his career, and sources don’t recall Lynch ever sitting for it during his time with the Seahawks and Bills.