Michael Bennett recently said he will continue to sit during the national anthem in order to support racial equality. During Friday’s preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings, he had some support in the form of Justin Britt, who stood by Bennett and held on to his shoulder while the Seahawks’ defensive end sat.
This is the second instance of a white football player supporting a black football player protesting during the anthem. Chris Long put his arm around Malcolm Jenkins while he held his fist up in the air during the Eagles’ game against the Buffalo Bills on Thursday.
Bennett wants other to join in on the protest, he told ESPN on Wednesday. “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."
Britt echoed that message Saturday with a tweet:
"Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are"— Justin Britt (@JustinBritt68) August 19, 2017
-Ben Franklin pic.twitter.com/MSRtHDVRBe
A few hours before the game, Michael’s brother, Martellus, posted his first political cartoon in honor the NFL players sitting during the anthem. He specifically mentioned his brother as an inspiration for the illustration.
Here's my first political cartoon. Dedicated to my brother @mosesbread72 and all of the other athletes using their platform to promote change. As I've been saying it seems as if "you can use the platform provided to promote products but not to promote change to the products of your environment." I've read a lot of the hate mail and comments sent to my brother as well as the ones sent to me. This illustration is how I feel about it all. here's to those willing to risk it all to promote change. #martyland #theimaginationagency #createdbymarty
After the game, Britt told reporters that he wasn’t against “against what the flag means and veterans,” but he wanted to show understanding about Bennett’s protest.
“I want to support him and support what he’s standing for and his beliefs,” Britt told the official team site. “I’m going to continue to try to understand what’s going on in the world and why it’s happening. None of it’s right and none of it should be happening. I’m going to continue talking with Mike and exploring and helping myself understand things. I wanted to take the first step tonight and that’s what I felt like I did.”
Bennett showed his appreciation for Britt’s gesture.
“I think it was very touching for me, a very emotional moment to have that kind of solidarity from someone like Justin Britt who’s a very known leader in our locker room. Who’s from a different part of America from me, but to be able to have that kind of solidarity and be able to have somebody who’s behind me and know that somebody that I really trust and to be able to see him put everything on the line to be able to support one of his teammates. I thought that was a very special moment and emotional moment,” Bennett said.