As Colin Kaepernick remains unsigned, plenty of players aren’t remaining silent about the situation. On Wednesday, Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett spoke at length regarding the explanation for Kaepernick’s absence.
“There is no logical explanation,” Bennett said. “Obviously, there’s the elephant in the room why Kaepernick isn’t signed, and most people know why.”
He’s referring, obviously, to Kaepernick’s decision to not stand for the national anthem as the reflection of his concerns regarding the treatment of minorities by some police officers.
“I’ve said this several times and I’m not afraid to say it,” Bennett said. “But 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. I think if you bring the issue of oppressed people on to a stage where there’s millions of fans watching, you bring up dirty little secrets, and I think a lot of people don’t want to hear that. People just want to see people score touchdowns and make big hits. They don’t want to hear about people getting killed by police or people being — gentrification, women’s rights issues. Nobody wants to hear about that. . . . People just want to hear about athletes playing sports. But in this generation, athletes are supposed to use our platform to make change, and what are we supposed to do when we are part of America? Are we supposed to just stay in our homes and not speak up on issues? No, I think it’s different. I think we’re supposed to go back and continuously bring up the issues and continuously inspire the youth that look up to us. I think that’s our job as athletes and that’s our job as human being. I think a human rights issue is everybody’s problem. Every issue we’re dealing with race is everybody’s issue. I think every issue we’re dealing with women’s rights is everybody’s problem. So until everybody feels like it’s a problem, then it’s going to continuously be a problem.”
Bennett was asked what this says about the league.
“I think it just reflects on the state of the league,” Bennett said. “I think the league is built on middle America and most of the middle of America is predominantly a white crowd. That’s just the truth of it. I think race is not something that the NFL wants to be a part of or get behind. So, but the league is predominantly African-American. So the issue what he’s dealing with is what we’re all dealing with. We all come from the inner city or we’ve been a part of communities where we felt like we’ve been judged because of the color of our skin, or the way — who we like, or if a woman — any issue to deal with, we’ve all been dealing with it with someone in our family.”
Kaepernick’s best (only) shot at getting a job came from Bennett’s team. So why didn’t the Seahawks sign him?
“I don’t know what factors into the Seahawks not signing him,” Bennett said. “I know the Seahawks were the only team that stepped up and even gave him the opportunity . . . . So that says a lot about the organization. I think our organization is built around community. I think if you look at the way that the Seahawks move, if you look at the way that our team moves, if you look at the people that work for the building and this organization is built around community. So I’m not surprised that the Seahawks were the one to look at Kaepernick or gave him the opportunity to even try out.”
Actually, Kaepernick never got a tryout, just a visit. And some think the Seahawks were never really interested in Kaepernick, possibly because the Seahawks don’t want an in-house threat to Russell Wilson. Pay close attention to what Bennett said regarding coach Pete Carroll’s decision not to sign Kaepernick.
“I think it’s that’s what his opinion [is],” Bennett said. “I think his opinion is his valid opinion. He is the head coach. He is the leader of the organization when it comes to picking players. If he feels that this is not the right situation because we have a starting quarterback, then that’s his choice. I think he’s able to have that choice. He’s shown that he’s of a winning pedigree. He makes sure he wants to not have that competition behind his quarterback, I think it’s justifiable. So that’s how I feel.”
While Bennett may buy Carroll’s decision “to not have that competition behind his quarterback,” Bennett doesn’t buy the decision of other teams with other quarterbacks to not give Kaepernick a try. And Bennett believes (as many do) that the various reasons rattled off regarding Kaepernick’s unemployment conceal a hard truth that the NFL and many in the media refuse to admit.