After former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began taking a knee during “The Star-Spangled Banner” in 2016 to protest minority oppression and police brutality, many other players followed suit that season.
Among them was defensive end Michael Bennett, who could be seen sitting on the sideline while his Seattle Seahawks teammates stood for the anthem.
After joining the Philadelphia Eagles in 2018, Bennett stayed in the locker room during the playing of the anthem — and did likewise this season with the New England Patriots.
No more of that
But things will be different now that Bennett is playing for the Dallas Cowboys.
The team acquired Bennett, 33, from New England in a trade earlier this month, and a Cowboys’ source said last week that prior to the deal’s completion, the Cowboys and Bennett reached an understanding that he would stand on the sideline for the anthem before each game, the Dallas Morning News reported.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones discussed Bennett and the anthem controversy last week during a morning KRLD-FM interview, the paper said.
“I’m satisfied that, in Michael, we’ve got a player who knows how we do it here with the Cowboys,” Jones told the station, according to the Morning News.
Head coach Jason Garrett added that the team is “excited to have him here as a player. We anticipate him doing what all of our players do,” the paper said.
More from the Morning News:
There have been exceptions in recent years. For example, Veterans Day weekend and a Salute to Service game fell on consecutive weeks in 2017. Bennett, then with the Seattle Seahawks, made a point to stand on the sideline for those games, part of a stated effort to ensure his protest against racial inequality was not mistaken as a lack of support for U.S. military members. He previously had been sitting on the sideline bench during the anthem that season.
The Patriots traded Bennett to Dallas after a blowup with coaches resulted in his suspension; Bennett reportedly was frustrated about lack of playing time despite his high-level skills.
What else has been up with Bennett?
- In 2018, Bennett turned himself in over a felony charge in connection with allegedly knocking over a 66-year-old paraplegic female security guard while trying to get to the postgame celebration at the Super Bowl the previous year. The charge was dismissed earlier in 2019.
- Also in 2018 Bennett released a book titled, “Things that Make White People Uncomfortable,” which goes into detail about his sociopolitical stances, particularly with regard to police violence and racism.
- Bennett accused Las Vegas police of racial profiling and using excessive force during his August 2017 nightclub arrest. But the head of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said the investigation found officers acted appropriately and professionally during the arrest, and they were cleared of any wrongdoing. Bennett was arrested after fleeing the club with other patrons over what they mistakenly thought was gunfire. Bennett was released after being held for about 10 minutes.
- In 2017, Bennett was one of a handful of players to pen a memo to the NFL demanding, among other things, that November become a league-wide social activism awareness month.
(H/T: Blue Lives Matter)