The Seattle Seahawks center Justin Britt placed his hand on defensive end Michael Bennett’s shoulder in a display of support of the latter’s decision to sit out during the national anthem before to the kick off of their team’s exhibition matchup against the Minnesota Vikings.
Britt stood next to the Bennett, who openly said earlier this week that he plans to sit out during the national anthem in rally for social injustice. Meanwhile, cornerback Jeremy Lane also displayed his support for Bennett by standing a few meters away and facing the defensive player during the singing of The Star-Spangled Banner national anthem.
“I thought it was a special moment and an emotional moment, for me, it was a very touching moment,” Bennett stated about Britt’s support to him. “And I’m very thankful to have someone in my corner like that and I’m appreciative of him.”
Britt talked to Bennett prior to the Seahawks-Vikings preseason contest about supporting his mission. Britt also said that he would “encourage” his Seahawks teammates to join him and Bennett in understanding the issues and not just “pick sides” in the subject.
“I want to support him, I want to support what he’s standing for and his beliefs,” Britt said after the matchup. “I’m not foolish, I’m from Missouri, I get things are different in that area than it is in some other areas. I’m not against what the flag means and veterans. You know my dad was in the Army. So I’m not putting any disrespect to them.”
“I’m just trying to understand the issues, trying to educate myself more in that regard and showing support and I’m going to continue to understand what is going on in the world and why it’s happening. None of it’s right, none of it is what should be happening so I’m going to continue talking to Mike and exploring and just helping myself understand things so I wanted to take a first step tonight and that’s what I felt like I did.”
Britt’s manifestation of solidarity with defensive end Bennett comes a day after the Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long showed his outpouring support for teammate Malcolm Jenkins’ protest during the national anthem.
Bennett believed that white professional American football players becoming involved would help bring more awareness to the social injustice protests.
Michael Bennett also sat out prior to preseason opener against the Los Angeles Chargers. The defensive end said that his decision to sit came after violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, that included the death of a woman who was hit by a vehicle intentionally driven into a group of counter-protesters.
In previous year’s NFL regular-season opener, Seattle Seahawks players and coaches locked their arms in a display of unity during the singing of the national anthem. It came a few weeks after quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeled during the national anthem ahead to a San Francisco 49ers preseason matchup to protest the treatment of minorities in the United States.