Seattle Seahawks DL Michael Bennett sits during national anthem

Rufina Vignone
Agosto 15, 2017

Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett did not stand for the national anthem prior to the team's preseason opener against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, and he'll continue to do so throughout the season.

"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 following Sunday's game.

Kaepernick's decision to not stand for the national anthem before a preseason game last season drew ire and praise but also made him a lightning rod for controversy, which still resounds loudly.

The defensive lineman added "I want people to understand that I love the military". "He said, 'This is something I've done for 11 years - it's not a form of anything other than me being myself, ' " Del Rio said, per the San Jose Mercury News. I love football like any other American. I don't love riots. But I don't love segregation.

"Let people attack me because they don't believe what I believe in, but at the end of the day, I'm being vulnerable to show every person that no matter [what] you believe in, keep fighting for it", Bennett said. 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. "It's more about being a human being at this point".

The defensive end spoke openly about why he chose to become a part of the anthem protests.

If NFL officials thought that keeping Colin Kaepernick out of the league would cause players to stop addressing racial injustices on a national stage, then they had a rude awakening this weekend.

The move came a day after former Seahawk Marshawn Lynch sat during the anthem before Oakland's game against Arizona.

Bennett said he wanted to take others out of their "comfort zone" after three people were killed and at least 35 were injured amid clashes at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville.

"There's been guys who have criminal records, guys who have been accused of murder, guys who have been accused of rape and domestic violence who are still in the NFL", Bennett said. I just want to see people have the equality that they deserve.

The notoriously coy Lynch did not elaborate on his reasons for sitting during the anthem, indicating to his head coach Jack del Rio that it was something he had been doing for years. "I've said this several times, and I'm not afraid to say it: I think race and politics in sports is something people don't want to hear about, nor do people want to be a part of".

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