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Seattle Columnist Says Michael Bennett Should ‘Quit’ Football If He Wants To Be An Activist
One day after his former teammate Marshawn Lynch sat during the National Anthem, Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett did the same before a preseason game over the weekend.
Seattle News Tribune’s John McGrath wrote up a column on Monday and titled it, “If Michael Bennett wants to sit for anthem, maybe he should walk away from football,” and he meant every single word of it.
This is what Bennett had to say following the game about his National Anthem protest:
“I love the military, my father’s in the military,” he said after the Seahawks exhibition opener Sunday. “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 they deserve, and I want to use my platform to be able to continuously push the message of that.”
McGrath has no issue with that, but in his column he made it clear that Bennett ‘belongs’ to a team and if he wants to become an activist instead of playing for a Super Bowl, then he should quit his job.
“There’s a problem about this “platform” he mentioned. It’s not entirely his and his alone. From the the moment he takes the field before kickoff, and the moment he returns to locker room after the final gun, Bennett belongs to a team.
As an accomplished NFL player, he has ample opportunities to serve as a change agent preaching justice for all: Seven months during the off-season, six full days a week between August and January.
But over the three and half hours he’s competing for the Seattle Seahawks on Sundays, his ambitiously virtuous platform should be limited to the mundane matter of winning a football game.
But as part of a roster assembled with athletes from coast to coast, from gated-community neighborhoods to neighborhoods where the only gates are in front of windows and doors, Bennett’s national-anthem stance — or lack thereof — is distracting and potentially divisive.
While no fellow players criticized Bennett’s refusal to join them for the anthem, I suspect at least a few of them were not thrilled by the snapshot of the towel hanging over his head.
If his fiercest motivation as a Seahawks defensive end is to bring about change in America, a four-letter word comes to mind.