Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett remained seated on his team's bench along with eight other Seahawks players during the national anthem ahead of their game against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer's Stephen Cohen reported.
The Seahawks declined to enter the field during the national anthem ahead of last week's 33-27 defeat to the Tennessee Titans. The Titans were absent for the anthem as well.
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began the movement last year, explaining he wanted to draw attention to police brutality and racial inequality. Bennett told NBC Sports' Michele Tafoya on Football Night in America (via the News Tribune's Craig Hill) he has similar aims behind his protest.
"My intention is to change the culture," Bennett said. "We had to come to a belief that what we do does not define who we are. What we do does not make us. How we love, that defines us, and how we care for the people, that’s what defines us. That's what we talked about. How can we care and how can we give to the community and show people that we have compassion for both?"
Bennett added that he and other players continuing the protest aren't disrespecting or devaluing members of the United States military but that they "don't love" oppression, discrimination and racism.
In a statement on Twitter in September, Bennett said police officers in Las Vegas had used excessive force and that one officer had said he'd "blow [Bennett's] f--king head off." (Warning: post contains NSFW language):
Michael Bennett @mosesbread72
Equality. https://t.co/NQ4pJt94AZ2017-9-6 14:01:16
Police had detained Bennett while investigating a possible shooter at the scene.
Joe Lombardo, sheriff of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, told reporters Friday the department had reviewed 861 videos from the incident and determined the officers "did what they were trained to do" with regard to their handling of Bennett.
Bennett's attorney, John Burris, said the two-time Pro Bowler believes he was the victim of racial profiling.