Seattle Seahawks’ Michael Bennett: National Anthem Protests ‘Need a White Guy.’
Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett is one of the few NFL players who will speak out on controversial topics that impact society, and he doesn’t care who has a problem with it. Back in August, Bennett spoke about how he wants the NFL’s most prominent players to be more vocal since their stage is a lot bigger than his.
“Here in the NFL, the greatest players aren’t in the forefront of the movement. Whether it’s the CBA, whether it’s things going on with changing concussions – the greatest players aren’t involved like LeBron James or Chris Paul. Our great players are sitting back taking the dollars, whether it’s Cam Newton, all these guys, they’re just not at the forefront of trying to change what’s going on. As a great player, you have to remember that there was people who came before you.”
During a recent interview, Bennett hasn’t changed his stance, but he did add that not just prominent black players in the NFL need to speak up, but white players too so that the movement can gain more traction.
“You need a white guy to join the fight. The white guy is super important to the fight,” the Seattle Seahawks defensive end said, according to Matt Calkins of the Seattle Times. “For people to really see social injustices, there must be someone from the other side of the race who recognizes the problem, because a lot of times if just one race says there’s a problem, nobody is realistic about it.”
“If somebody like, say, Aaron Rodgers got behind us, I think it would touch home for a lot more people,” said Seahawks defensive lineman Cliff Avril, whose team has chosen to lock arms while standing during the anthem. “At the same time, I see why they probably wouldn’t, because they don’t know what we’re going through. That’s one of those situations where it’s unfortunate.”
Seahawks kicker Steven Hauschka, who is one of twelve Caucasian players on the squad, stated stories from his black teammates have opened his eyes to an entirely different world as well as the issues in the African-American community.
“I think a lot of white people are uncomfortable talking about it,” Hauschka said. “I don’t want to speak for all white people, but I know for myself, I’m uncomfortable about the subject. There’s a lot of racial tension that goes way back, and I don’t know what it’s like to be black in this country. I don’t know how any white person could.”