Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett sat during the national anthem before a preseason game against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday afternoon and he told reporters that he plans to protest all season.
Former teammate Marshawn Lynch sat during the national anthem before the Oakland Raiders' exhibition opener against the Arizona Cardinals.
Last season, quarterback Colin Kaepernick found himself at the center of nationwide attention by kneeling during the Star Spangled Banner to raise awareness for social injustice in America. Kaepernick is a free agent.
Most of the Seahawks' organization and fellow players were not aware that Bennett was doing the protest, according to ESPN's Jim Trotter. One front office official told Trotter that he was OK with Bennett's decision.
"The last week, with everything that's been going on in the last couple months—especially after the last couple days seeing everything in (Charlottesville) Virginia...just wanted to be able to continue to use my platform to be able to speak on injustice," Bennett told reporters.
"First of all, I want to make sure that people understand I love the military. My father was in the military. I love hot dogs, like any other American. I love football like any other American," he added. "But I don't love segregation. I don't love riots. I don't love oppression. I don't love gender slander. And I just want to see people have equality that they deserve."
Michael Freeman of Bleacher Reports reports that other players plan on protesting during the national anthem as a result of outrage over the recent violence in Charlottesville and President Donald Trump's reaction.