Michael Bennett: A White Player Sitting for Anthem Would 'Get Things Changed'

Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistAugust 17, 2017

ARCHIVO - En esta foto del 13 de junio del 2017, el end defensivo de los Seahawks de Seattle Michael Bennet sale del terreno tras una práctica de la NFL en Renton, Washington. Benntt dice que se va a sentar durante el himno nacional estadounidense esta temporada en protesta contra la injusticia social y la segregación. (AP Foto/Ted S. Warren)
Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett said Wednesday that a white player taking part in a national anthem protest would change the perception of the demonstration.

In an interview on SportsCenter (h/t ESPN.com), Bennett discussed why a white player kneeling or sitting during the anthem would be a significant step:

"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. 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 sat on the bench during the playing of the national anthem prior to Seattle's preseason game against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday.

Bennett is one of a handful of players who have continued the trend started last season by then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback and current free agent Colin Kaepernick.

The Pro Bowl pass-rusher said the white nationalist marches in Charlottesville, Virginia, contributed to his decision to sit:

"Over the weekend, so much violence, so much hate. I just wanted to remember why we were American citizens, remember the freedom, the liberty and the equality, make sure we never forget that. I really wanted to honor that, the founding principles of what we're all supposed to be. Charlottesville was so crazy, so much going on in the world now, it just made sense."

Bennett added Kaepernick's situation has deterred some players from protesting due to how he was treated publicly and the notion he is being blackballed by the NFL.

Last year, prior to their regular-season opener, the Seahawks stood arm-in-arm during the anthem rather than kneeling or sitting.

Bennett is one of several Seahawks players who have been vocally supportive of Kaepernick and his cause, including wide receiver Doug Baldwin and cornerback Richard Sherman.