With the white supremacy march in Charlottesville, Va., and hateful rhetoric spewing across the U.S.A. this past weekend (and for centuries), visible figures in the entertainment and sports arenas are using their voices and platform to inspire change. Like Colin Kaepernick and Marshawn Lynch, another fellow pro-NFLer displayed his beliefs to combat unfair treatment.
Per ESPN, Seattle Seahawks Michael Bennett sat on the bench while the “Star-Spangled Banner” played ahead of the team’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers. When asked why, Bennett summed up most of our feelings and thoughts on hatred and racism.
— Dennis Bernstein (@DennisTFP) August 14, 2017
“I want people to understand that I love the military. My father’s in the military. I love hot dogs like any other American. I love football like any other American,” he said. “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.”
He continued to state that his platform will continue to serve as a springboard to launch messages of equality. “And just because people are different doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t like them,” he said. “Just because they don’t eat what you eat, just because they don’t pray to the same God you pray to doesn’t mean you should hate them. Whether it is Muslim, whether it is Buddhist, whether it is Christianity, I just want people to understand that no matter what, we need to stay together. It’s more about being a human being at this point.”
Kaepernick — who remains in free agency — also made headlines for his protest last NFL season. His actions helped to encourage social change and put a spotlight on the prison system’s targeting of people of color. According to Sports Illustrated, Bennett will carry out his protest indefinitely.