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Seahawks' Bennett: White player joining protest could spur change

Joe Nicholson / USA TODAY Sports

Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett plans to protest racial inequality and police brutality by sitting during the national anthem throughout the upcoming season, and wants white players to join his effort.

Bennett joins Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch, and Los Angeles Rams defensive end Robert Quinn in protesting during the national anthem. Free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick evoked both national scrutiny and praise for his protest last year, though he remains unsigned after opting out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers in March.

Despite his best efforts, Bennett feels his white co-workers need to get involved to make their protest truly successful.

"It would take a white player to really get things changed, because when somebody from the other side understands and they step up and they speak up about it ... it would change the whole conversation," Bennett said via ESPN. "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."

Bennett's decision to protest was inspired by the Charlottesville riots, along with the fact that Kaepernick remains out of the league, despite a host of subpar quarterbacks receiving jobs this summer.

"He had to sacrifice. He spoke up and dealt with a lot of things that were going on - from death threats, people not wanting him in the stadium, people hating him," Bennett said of Kaepernick. "I think a lot of players were scared of that. Then on top of that, players feeling like he was being blackballed, people were eventually scared.

"But now, just because he's out of the league, we didn't want to lose that message, pushing for liberty and equality for everybody, we just wanted to keep that message alive."

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