As the NFL continues its struggle to tamper down players’ social justice rhetoric and fights declining ratings, football stars are now moving beyond national anthem protests to get their message across. Now, they’re taking their messaging to the playing field.
On Sunday, Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett, an NFL player known to sit during the anthem, celebrated a sack with a single raised fist, a common sign for BLM and SJW protesters.
Bennett’s raised fist is the first instance of a player protesting during an actual game.
Bennett was the first Seattle player announced during pregame introductions before the home opener against the 49ers. The football star also received one of the loudest ovations, before taking a seat on the bench during the National Anthem.
Seattle center Justin Britt and running back Thomas Rawls stood next to Bennett, each with a hand on his shoulder, during the anthem. Teammates Cliff Avril and Frank Clark also took a seat next to Bennett for the duration of the anthem.
Protesters aligned with Bennett gathered outside the stadium, chanting and claiming he was unfairly racially-profiled with excessive force by police last month in Las Vegas.
Unsigned quarterback Colin Kaepernick is credited with starting the trend of kneeling or sitting during the National Anthem in protest of police relations with black citizens in the US. Kaepernick’s movement, which many believe resulted in him not being signed to any team this season, has grown this year, with offshoots of the protest forming.
One of these offshoots includes players showing solidarity by putting their hands on each other’s backs as the anthem plays.
— All Black Media (@Allblackmedia) September 17, 2017
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