Seahawks DE Michael Bennett Stands For National Anthem To Show Support For Military
The entire Seahawks roster, including DE Michael Bennett, stood for the playing of the national anthem prior to Thursday's game against the Cardinals, marking the first time this season Bennett did not sit during the anthem since he "began protesting mistreatment of minorities and the need for police reform at the preseason opener in mid-August," according to Gregg Bell of the Tacoma NEWS TRIBUNE. Bennett stood "arms locked, side by side" with his fellow defensive linemen. Bennett said the decision to stand was to "signify that we are all with the military, and that we love them." The Cardinals held their Salute to Service commemoration Thursday ahead of Veterans Day, and Bennett said, "There's been this narrative that we don’t care about the military. Today, we were honoring the military, so we wanted to be able to honor the military." He added, "I know a lot of people did not expect us to stand. ... It's never been about the military. If there is an opportunity to support them and be grateful for what they do, and the sacrifices, we want to be able to do that." Bennett indicated that he also will stand "during the anthem" for the team's next game on Nov. 20 in honor of the Seahawks' Salute to Service weekend (Tacoma NEWS TRIBUNE, 11/10). NBC’s Mike Tirico noted Bennett told the broadcast crew on Wednesday the team "wanted to be clear, no mixed messages sent about their support of the military on this ‘Salute to Service’ weekend." Tirico: "Bennett says he stood tonight to honor all members of the military, including his dad who was in the Navy for a decade” (“TNF,” NBC, 11/9). YAHOO SPORTS' Jay Busbee wrote the Seahawks' stance this week was "meant to put some distance between the protests and the military." The NFL is "seeking to figure out how to respect players' right to speak while still respecting the beliefs of a segment of its fan base vehemently opposed to the protests" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 11/9).
GESTURE OF GOODWILL: Dolphins TE Julius Thomas said that he was "pleased" that coach Adam Gase changed a team policy and allowed S Michael Thomas, WR Kenny Stills and himself to "kneel on the sideline during the national anthem on Sunday, instead of being forced to stay in the locker-room if they wanted to kneel." He said, "It's really encouraging to have a coach be willing to let us express that and display that in ways we feel most comfortable doing. To allow us to go back on the field and take a knee is a good thing and I appreciate it" (MIAMI HERALD, 11/10).
TALE OF TWO CITIES: In DC, Valerie Richardson writes the NFL has "taken a beating" over players kneeling during the national anthem this season, but a "close examination shows that the protests are ... more a tale of two liberal cities: San Francisco and Seattle." The "vast majority of those refusing to stand" for the anthem play for the 49ers and Seahawks, teams "nestled in famously left-wing locales and led by owners who sought to keep" President Trump out of the White House (WASHINGTON TIMES, 11/10).