The football season has just kicked off and players have stepped up their anti-American game to fill the void that unemployable Colin Kaepernick has left behind.
Raiders’ running back Marshawn Lynch was the first to prove that this season wasn’t going to be better than the last. Now, his former teammate on the Seahawks, defensive end Michael Bennett, decided to make it worse.
Simply sitting the bench for the National Anthem wasn’t a strong enough message for Bennett to make at the game and took a page out of Kaepernick’s disrespectful playbook. Apparently, he doesn’t care what price he has to pay for it.
Lynch came out of retirement to play for the Raiders and let the country know how he feels about his freedom that many paid the ultimate price for. He previously played for the Seahawks and it’s probably no coincidence that another player from this team is sharing the same sentiment as Lynch now.
A good majority of the team stood in defiance during the National Anthem at the Sunday their first preseason game. Although they were on their feet, their arms were locked and refused to show their patriotism in protest. However, Bennett was on the bench with an even bolder message before our flag that enraged many fans in the stands.
With the American flag flying in front of him on the field, Bennett refused to show respect for this and the anthem while sitting and wasn’t apologetic about not standing. In fact, when asked about it after, he said this was just the start of more to come and gave an infuriating answer as to why he’s intentionally using his platform to sent this anti-American message.
Bennett told reporters that he plans to protest by sitting out the Anthem every single game of this season. He better get comfortable there on the bench, since that’s where he belongs if he can’t show respect for the country that has afforded him the opportunity to make millions playing a game.
— Dennis Bernstein (@DennisTFP) August 14, 2017
Unfortunately, team officials don’t seem to mind what Bennett is doing on the sidelines.
Sports Illustrated reports:
Most of the Seahawks’ organization and fellow players were not aware that Bennett was doing the protest, according to ESPN’s Jim Trotter. One front office official told Trotter that he was OK with Bennett’s decision.
“The last week, with everything that’s been going on in the last couple months—especially after the last couple days seeing everything in (Charlottesville) Virginia…just wanted to be able to continue to use my platform to be able to speak on injustice,” Bennett told reporters.
Bennett went on to prove just how ignorant he is in his explanation of what he personally thinks he’s protesting. He justified his disrespectful action by saying that this wasn’t about not loving our country and our military since that he loves hot dogs and football “like any other American” and that his father served in the military.
“First of all, I want to make sure that people understand I love the military. My father was in the military. I love hot dogs, like any other American. I love football like any other American,” he added, according to SI. “But I don’t love segregation. I don’t love riots. I don’t love oppression. I don’t love gender slander. And I just want to see people have equality that they deserve.”
His military father raised two boys, both professional athletes and both with a different kind of love and respect for our country. The dichotomy between these two brothers proves the difference between Americans.
You can have an opinion and still show respect for your country and not further division, as Bennett’s brother, Martellius Bennett, shows before each game he plays for the Green Bay Packers. As the tight end for his team, Martellius stands with his hand over his heart and his head bowed during the Anthem.
The NFL needs to do something about these players who misuse and abuse their platforms or face repercussions in ticket sales and loss of sponsors. Politics don’t belong in sports, as we saw for an entire season with Kaepernick which ended in career suicide. People want to watch a game, not a protest from ungrateful players who get paid millions to pout.
Unfortunately, last season will repeat itself without the NFL doing anything about it as Michael Freeman of Bleacher Reports reported that “other players plan on protesting during the national anthem as a result of outrage over the recent violence in Charlottesville and President Donald Trump’s reaction,” according to Sports Illustrated.
The best way to stop this is to see how important this message is to players when it costs them money to make it. There should be an addition to every contract that if a player sits out for one Anthem they are fined or benched for the entire season.