Seattle Seahawks: Pete Carroll supports DE Michael Bennett's national anthem message

By Curtis Crabtree, The Sports Xchange   |   Aug. 16, 2017 at 8:25 PM
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RENTON, Wash. -- Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett elected to sit for the national anthem for Sunday's preseason opener against the Los Angeles Chargers.

Bennett picked up the cause initially championed by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick a season ago of using the gesture to protest racial inequality and social injustice in America. Bennett strongly said he's not anti-military or anti-America - his father served in the military - but that he felt it was necessary to continue to shine a light on issues in the country.

"I love hot dogs like any other American," Bennett said. "I love football like any other American. But I don't love segregation, I don't love riots, I don't love oppression. I don't love gender slander. I just want to see people have the equality that they deserve and I want to be able to use this platform to continuously push the message and keep finding out how unselfish we can be in society, how we can continuously love one another and understand that people are different.

"And just because people are different doesn't mean that you shouldn't like them. Just because they don't eat what you eat, just because they don't pray to the same God you pray to doesn't mean you should hate them. Whether it is Muslim, whether it is Buddhist, whether it is Christianity, I just want people to understand that no matter what, we need to stay together. It's more about being a human being at this point."

When Kaepernick first sat, then kneeled, for the anthem last year, Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane joined him in the gesture by sitting for the anthem in Seattle's preseason game against the Oakland Raiders. The team then jointly decided to make a show of "unity" by standing for the anthem with arms interlocked.

Bennett and Lane both took part in that decision and participated in that stance through all of last season.

Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said he's spoken with Bennett multiple times about his choice and supports Bennett's cause and the message he's trying to deliver. However, he said he believes people should stand for the anthem.

"Michael has really dedicated the last few years of his life to try to understand what's going on around the world," Carroll said. "He's traveled everywhere to try and understand people's issues and concerns and it's really captured his heart and he is really turned his focus to doing good work and helping people and doing everything he can where he can help. I support the heck out of his concerns and his issues and all that.

"I love our country and I think we should all stand for the opportunity when the flag is represented, but the fact that his heart is in a great place and he's going to do great work well after the time he's with us and it's easy for me to support him in that and his issues, but I think we should all be standing up when we play the national anthem."

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The Seahawks signed former San Francisco 49ers cornerback Tramaine Brock to a one-year contract for the league minimum of $900,000 on Wednesday.

Brock was released by the 49ers after he was arrested regarding an alleged domestic violence incident with an ex-girlfriend. The charges against Brock were dismissed last week.

"It was just a misunderstood situation, because I wasn't even at the house at the time," Brock said. "But the process and everything is under the rug and I'm moving forward from that situation."

Brock's agent, Ron Slavin, said the Seahawks were one of 12 teams that reached out about Brock. However, Seattle reached out quickly after Brock was released and stayed in contact throughout the process, which gave them an edge when the charges were dismissed.

"He thought he was going to retire (with the 49ers), they were talking to us about an extension when this happened," Slavin said. "It's different, but he wanted to come here because Seattle outworked everybody else on it, they got involved right when it happened. Because of my relationship with (general manager) John (Schneider), I let him know this didn't happen and if you get in here you're going to get a good player because it's going to get dismissed."

Added Brock: "I mean, once they released me, I was released mentally from that team. So, even though my situation was over with, I just felt like it was time to move on."

Brock started 31 of a possible 32 games with the 49ers over the last two seasons. He tallied 112 tackles with four interceptions, a forced fumble and 25 passes defended over that span.

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