SEATTLE — For the second straight week, Michael Bennett sat during the national anthem before the Seattle Seahawks’ preseason game Friday night against the Minnesota Vikings. But this time, he had company with Justin Britt standing next to him.
Britt, who is white, put his arm on Bennett’s left shoulder during the anthem. Afterward, the two embraced. Earlier this week, Bennett called for a white player to join the protest.
“It would take a white player to really get things changed,” Bennett said Wednesday on ESPN’s SC6, “because when somebody from the other side understands and they step up and they speak up about it … it would change the whole conversation. Because when you bring somebody who doesn’t have to be a part of [the] conversation making himself vulnerable in front of it, I think when that happens, things will really take a jump.”
Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane stood close to Britt and Bennett on Friday night. He had his back to the field and the flag during the anthem. During last year’s preseason, Lane sat for the national anthem to show support for Colin Kaepernick.
This is the second straight night an NFL preseason game has had this type of gesture. Philadelphia Eagles offensive lineman Chris Long put his hand on Malcolm Jenkins’ shoulder while the anthem played before the team’s 20-16 preseason win over the Buffalo Bills on Thursday.
Bennett said last week that he is sitting to use his platform to promote justice and equality.
“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.”