Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett, who has been sitting during the national anthem this season to protest police brutality and social injustice, stood up in support of the military before a Thursday night game against the Arizona Cardinals, who were hosting their "Salute to Service" night.
It marks the second time Bennett has stood for the national anthem this season, the first coming after the shooting in Las Vegas last month. In both cases, Bennett was joined by all of his Seahawks teammates.
Michael Bennett stood for the anthem tonight because he didn't want it to be confused for an anti-military message on Veterans Day weekend pic.twitter.com/QgkUXwAwZy— Mike Tunison AKA Rules Hardo AKA Yung Olestra (@xmasape) November 10, 2017
"It was to signify that we are all with the military, and that we love them," Bennett told Gregg Bell of The News Tribune on Thursday. "There's been this narrative that we don't care about the military. Today, we were honoring the military, so we wanted to be able to honor the military."
"I know a lot of people did not expect us to stand," Bennett continued. "They have this narrative about us that is not true. I have a lot of family that were military. It's never been about the military. If there is an opportunity to support them and be grateful for what they do, and the sacrifices, we want to be able to do that."
Bennett has been vocal about his political activism in the past. He expressed his appreciation for the military following a preseason game against the San Diego Chargers, for example, before explaining that he wants to use his platform to "continuously push the message and keep finding out how unselfish we can be in society, how we can continuously love one another and understand that people are different."
Aware of his plans to sit during the national anthem for the remainder of the season, a member of the Seahawks' front office said at the time that they have no problem with Bennett's protest as long as he is "preaching love and not hate."