Seattle defensive end Michael Bennett has been the most outspoken of late, among the players protesting during the national anthem by sitting or raising a fist.
And he’d like to have a little more help in the effort — specifically from a white player.
“It would take a white player to really get things changed,” Bennett said during an appearance on ESPN. “Because when somebody from the other side understands and they step up and they speak up about it, . . . it would change the whole conversation. Because when you bring somebody who doesn’t have to be a part of [the] conversation making himself vulnerable in front of it, I think when that happens, things will really take a jump.”
Bennett joined a group of players carrying out the work started last year by then-49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, as has Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch. Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins has continued his protests, along with a few other players disturbed by issues of racial inequality.
Other than Eagles defensive end Chris Long — who decried the racism that overtook the city he grew up in (Charlottesville, Va.) last weekend, along with the lack of leadership in the aftermath — few white players have spoken out about the issues.
Bennett said he was stirred by watching those scenes, where white supremacists and neo-Nazis clashed with counter-protesters before a woman was killed and 19 were injured when a car was driven into a crowd.
“Over the weekend, so much violence, so much hate,” Bennett said. “I just wanted to remember why we were American citizens, remember the freedom, the liberty and the equality, make sure we never forget that. I really wanted to honor that, the founding principles of what we’re all supposed to be. Charlottesville was so crazy, so much going on in the world now, it just made sense.”
When he says it like that, you realize the issues aren’t necessarily about black and white. They’re about right and wrong, as Long pointed out.