Two days after electing to sit during the national anthem, Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett received support from his brother, Martellus, and his teammate Doug Baldwin on Tuesday.
“I support him, I support his movement, I support Colin Kaepernick, I support all the guys, Angela Davis, all the people that came before us to pave the way for what we’re trying to do in the black community,” Martellus Bennett, a Green Bay Packers tight end, said. “I support everybody and always will. I always will be very pro black, I guess would be the term to say.”
Baldwin said that he is considering joining Bennett’s protest.
“The overwhelming and most profound message is that we claim to have equality and liberty for all people. And some people feel that’s not the case. So maybe we should listen to them. Maybe we should listen to what their thoughts are and see if we can’t be better. If we think we’re perfect, the Romans thought they were perfect. I’d just say maybe we shouldn’t think we’re perfect and there’s always room for improvement.”
Bennett said after Sunday’s game that he plans on sitting during the anthem for the entire season. He told reporters that he wanted to use his platform as an athlete to promote equality.
Pete Carroll said he supports Bennett’s message but thinks everyone should stand for the anthem.
“I support the heck out of his concerns and issues and all that,” Carroll said. “When it comes to it, I love our country, and I think we should all stand for the opportunities when the flag is represented. But the fact that his heart is in a great place and he’s going to do great work well after the time he’s with us, it’s easy for me to support him in his issues. But I think we should all be standing up when they play the national anthem.”
Martellus Bennett wouldn’t say whether he’s decided to join his brother in protest.
“I support Michael in everything he does,” Martellus Bennett said. “He’s very well-educated on what it is he wants to happen in the world and what he’s trying to communicate, and I think he does an awesome job. I love him to death, and I think he’s very courageous in the position he’s in and the things that he says, and I’m very proud to be his brother and to see him make the impact that he does — not just with stances like that but the work that he does in the community, the type of father that he is. If there’s anybody you can look up to, it’s Mike. I know sometimes he may come off a little abrasive, but man the dude is such a great guy. He’s always working in the community, he’s always trying to better the young and he’s a progressive thinker. I think it’s awesome.”
Baldwin was asked if he’s worried about a segment of fans being turned off by players sitting for the national anthem.
“No. It’s football,” Baldwin said. “I appreciate the fans who come out here and support us. But it’s football. We’re not saving lives. We’re not police officers. We’re not doctors. We’re football players, first and foremost. So if you want to stop watching the game because a guy feels strongly about a very serious topic that’s going on in our society, well then that’s your choice. You have a right to freedom of speech. So yeah, if you want to do that, all for it.
“If your feelings are hurt about a particular situation, then maybe you should ask yourself, ‘Why are my feelings being hurt about this? Why is it so important for somebody, who seems to be an intelligent human being, why is it so important for them to get this message across? Why is it so important for them to do it in this fashion? In the particular moment in which they do it? Why is it so important?’ All of us can ask ourselves those questions, and maybe we’ll be smarter human beings, a smarter society if we do that.”