Michael Bennett is taking a stand, by sitting down.
The Seattle Seahawks defensive end followed Colin Kaepernick’s and Marshawn Lynch’s lead by sitting on the Seahawks’ bench during the National Anthem prior to the team’s preseason game Sunday night.
Bennett sat down with a towel over his shoulders while the rest of the team stood up in front of the team’s bench. A number of Seahawks players also locked arms.
Lynch, Bennett’s former teammate with the Seahawks, also sat down during the National Anthem prior to the Raiders’ preseason game on Saturday.
Bennett has been outspoken in his support for Kaepernick, who drew the ire of many fans after he sat down — and later took a knee — during the National Anthem last season as a member of the 49ers. Kaepernick opted out of his contract in the offseason and remains unsigned.
“Obviously, there’s the elephant in the room why Kaepernick isn’t signed, and most people know why,” Bennett told ESPN in July. “I’ve said this several times, and I’m not afraid to say it: I think race and politics in sports is something people don’t want to hear about, nor do people want to be a part of.”
Bennett spent time with Kaepernick earlier this summer, volunteering with Know Your Rights Camp, a youth campaign funded by Kaepernick that is dedicated to “raise awareness on higher education, self-empowerment, and instruction to properly interact with law enforcement in various scenarios.”
Kaepernick visited the Seahawks earlier this offseason but was not signed by the team. Seattle later signed Austin Davis instead.
Bennett, Seahawks teammate Richard Sherman and several other players and analysts have publicly stated they believe Kaepernick is being blackballed by the NFL for his National Anthem protest and his candor in discussing social justice issues.
Sherman, speaking with USA Today Sports, recently criticized the league for a number of inferior quarterbacks signing with teams this offseason, while Kaepernick remains without a job.
Kaepernick finished with a 90.7 quarterback rating last season — higher than Eli Manning, Phillip Rivers and Joe Flacco, among others.
“Now if you told me this guy threw eight pick-sixes last year and played like a bum, had no talent, that’s one thing. But Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Mallett or whoever is playing for the Jets right now — whoever is starting for the Jets is terrible — have jobs,” Sherman told USA Today Sports. “You’re telling me fans would rather you lose and put a worse player out there because a guy took a stand? That’s where it’s so troublesome to me.”