NFL players continue National Anthem protest as new season begins
NFL players are continuing to protest the “National Anthem” as a new NFL season starts. This past weekend, the Oakland Raiders’ Marshawn Lynch and the Seattle Seahawks’ Michael Bennett made headlines as they sat on the bench while the song played before their respective preseason games, according to ESPN.
After the Seahawks finished their game, Bennett spoke to members of the media to explain his stance and try and get ahead of the situation before it turned ugly.
“First of all, I want people to understand that I love the military,” Bennett said. “My father’s in the military. I love hot dogs like any other American. I love football like any other American. But I don’t love segregation. I don’t love riots or oppression.”
“I just want to see people have the equality that they deserve. And I want to be able to use this platform to continuously push the message of that.”
Marshawn Lynch, on the other hand, is known for being loud on the field and quiet off, while only speaking to the press as required. Instead of explaining his stance for himself, ESPN reports that he allowed the Raiders coach, Jack Del Rio, so speak on his behalf.
“[Lynch] 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. “I said, ‘So you understand how I feel. I very strongly believe in standing for the national anthem, but I’m going to respect you as a man. You do your thing, and we’ll do ours.’ So that’s a non-issue for me.”
If true, the fact that no one noticed one of the most high profile players in the entire league sitting for the National Anthem for more than a decade is telling. While Colin Kaepernick still isn’t signed to a team and is being blackballed as an example, more players are coming out to show their support.