Both the NFL and players are facing some serious backlash over the National Anthem protests, namely with lower ratings and empty stadiums.
Some players, however, are trying to change the perception that their protests are a slap in the face to the American flag and the troops. One player is even ending his protest to make that clear. At least for one week.
Michael Bennett of the Seattle Seahawks has been sitting during the National Anthem all season, but on Thursday (11/9) night, he stood for the anthem before his team’s game against the Arizona Cardinals. His reason was more about image than principle – he wanted to honor the troops on Veteran’s Day weekend, and make it clear that his protest is not directed toward the troops.
Of course, the fact that he suspended his protest for Veteran’s Day only proves that it is seen as a slight against the troops. At least Bennett realized how negative his protest would be taken had he done it.
However, Bennett has indicated that he will continue his protest next week.
When the Seahawks played the Arizona cardinals during the Salute For Service game Thursday night, Bennett stood for the Star Spangled Banner. Viewers definitely took notice that the longtime protester actually linked arms with his teammates rather than kneeling during the anthem.
On Wednesday, Bennett had hinted that he might stand for the anthem with Veterans Day coming up this weekend. His father, Bennett Sr, is a Navy veteran and has expressed solidarity with his son’s protest for criminal justice reform.
“I joined the military so people like Michael and Martellus and whoever else out there can take a knee or make a stand, peacefully, and get their point across and not be ridiculed. I lose all respect for people if you really can’t see what’s going on in your own country that you live in everyday. People don’t care about people. They care about animals and they care about people that look like they look,” Bennett Sr. told Sports Illustrated in September.
On Sunday, the NFL will also likely observe a 2 minute moment of silence to honor all who have died fighting for our freedom. Surely that’s something everyone can get behind.
No other players have discussed suspending their protest for Veteran’s Day.
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