Seattle Seahawks center Justin Britt stood next to teammate Michael Bennett as he sat on the bench during the national anthem for their NFL preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Toward the end of the song, defensive end Cliff Avril sat next to Bennett in solidarity.
Q13 Fox reports this is the third time in a row Bennett has decided to sit during the national anthem, saying he will continue to do so “until I see equality and freedom.”
Bennett originally made his decision to sit during the national anthem after the “Unite the Right” rally and the subsequent violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, according to King 5:
“I want to be able to use this platform to continuously push the message ... of how unselfish you can be as a society. How we can continuously love one another and understand that people are different, and just because they're different, it doesn't mean that you shouldn't like them. 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.”
The protests have been inspired by free agent Colin Kaepernick from the previous NFL season. Since he has yet to be signed by any team, there have been calls for boycotts. Two bars in Chicago recently announced their plans to not show any NFL games until Kaepernick is signed by a team.