Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett broke from his normal routine of remaining seated during the national anthem by standing with linked arms alongside his teammates Thursday ahead of his team's 22-16 win against the Arizona Cardinals.
Bennett has maintained that his peaceful anthem protests are to advocate for the rights of minorities. He said after the game -- which was the Cardinals' "Salute to Service" night -- he wanted to change the narrative that protesting NFL players do not respect the military.
“We just wanted to support the vets,” Bennett, the son of a Navy veteran, told reporters, via The Seattle Times. “There’s this narrative that we don’t support the military, that we hate the military. But it’s never been about that. Today was the opportunity to stand up for the military, and that’s what we wanted to do.
"It’s important for us to show gratitude for the men and women who serve this country every single moment we can, and today was one of those times we were able to show our support for them and what they do for us, and how they sacrifice for their families. That’s what it was about.”
Seahawks center Justin Britt said the point of the protests has gotten lost in translation.
“It’s about liberty and justice for all, and that’s gotten lost in translation," Britt said. "So while the NFL and the league is showing support and appreciation to veterans and the military, so are we. And we don’t want that message to get twisted or taken the wrong way.”
The last time Bennett and the entire team stood for the anthem was Oct. 8 against the Los Angeles Rams — to show respect for the victims of the Las Vegas shooting.