Christian Petersen | Getty images

Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett stood for the national anthem Thursday in an effort to eliminate the notion that his push for criminal and social justice is anti-military

By Conor Orr
November 10, 2017

Whether out of confusion, ignorance or political opportunism, some have viewed NFL players kneeling or raising a fist during the national anthem as a form of disrespect toward the military. Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett, who stated his intention to sit for the anthem all season back in August, aimed to put that notion to rest on Thursday prior to Seattle’s prime-time matchup with the Arizona Cardinals.

Bennett stood and locked arms with his teammates. He also informed NBC’s broadcast unit of his intent to do so on Wednesday night with Veteran’s Day on Saturday. Bennett’s father is a U.S. Navy veteran, but has supported his son’s push for social equality and criminal justice reform.

“I joined the military so people like Michael and Martellus and whoever else out there can take a knee or make a stand, peacefully, and get their point across and not be ridiculed,” Bennett Sr. told Sports Illustrated back in September. “I lose all respect for people if you really can’t see what’s going on in your own country that you live in everyday.  People don’t care about people. They care about animals and they care about people that look like they look.”

For more on why Michael Bennett opted to sit during the anthem, here’s an interview he gave before the season.

Seeing all the players standing had to provide the NFL with a moment of respite, especially in the middle of its Salute to Service month. It also sets the stage for what will undoubtedly be a closely watched pre-game slate this Sunday. As the Associated Press reported earlier this week, there will be a two-minute “moment of silence” before all games to honor U.S. military veterans.

These are divided times. A wide assortment of media affords people the opportunity to continue hearing exactly what they’d like to hear. Beliefs can be affirmed in a heartbeat online, just as contrary thoughts can be stiff-armed with one swipe of your cellphone. But Bennett did his best to provide clarity in a singular moment in prime-time. There were no other games on Thursday night. There was no bigger stage for the sport at the time. Will people listen?  

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PRESS COVERAGE

1. Bill Belichick's secret network of players who will eventually become available mid-season paid off again Thursday after Martellus Bennett was released from the Green Bay Packers. Once again, New England has the league's most enviable tight end depth chart. 

2.  49ers running back Carlos Hyde seemed to avoid taking about his contract with reporters Thursday by saying he wants to wait for San Francisco to win a game first. (He knows, with the Giants coming to Santa Clara on Sunday, that he might not have bought much time, right?)  

3. The NFL is well aware that they've overloaded you with too much football. But what if they present it exclusively via sky camera? Would that help at all?

Joe Robbins | Getty Images

4.  The Denver Broncos want to get back to that Super Bowl-winning formula: Pretend they don't have a quarterback! 

5.  Hue Jackson has a battle plan ready for the remainder of the 2017: Just stop turning the ball over on offense and play better defense in the red zone. Problem solved! 

6.  This story about Ravens safety Eric Weddle during his off week is a pretty good reminder of why he's a football player while we're reading a newsletter about football. 

7.  Giants safety Landon Collins has narrowed down the suspect pool in the search for the anonymous Ben McAdoo bashers. Will they solve the case in time for Sunday's matchup in San Francisco?

8.  Bengals wideout A.J. Green is taking his $42,000 fine for choke-slamming Jalen Ramsey in stride. 

9. Teddy Bridgewater addresses what is no doubt a realistic hurdle en route to his first game action: The mental side of playing again after such a horrifying injury.

10. A heart-warming story from ESPN's Josh Weinfuss about Cardinals defensive coordinator James Bettcher, who helped save a 12-year-old boy who had been run over by an SUV while riding his bike to school.

Have a story you think we should include in tomorrow’s Press Coverage? Let us know here.


THE KICKER

Cowboys rookie defensive end Taco Charlton finally netted his first sack of the season, which, according to The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, meant "97-cent, full-sized beef tacos" for everyone at Taco Bueno this week. All I ever got from Eli Manning up here was a lousy cup of coffee

Question? Comment? Story idea? Let the team know at talkback@themmqb.com

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