Michael Bennett Says He'll Continue #TakeAKnee Protests Despite The Pro-Trump Stance Of His New Team's Leadership
Bennett has joined the Patriots and said he looks forward to discussing his political views with the team.
Michael Bennett is all set to sign with the New England Patriots and said he plans to continue his national anthem protests despite the pro-Trump views of the team's owner.
The defensive end spoke about his future commitment to the 2019 Super Bowl champions at a Princeton panel, the Boston Globe reports. Bennett revealed he had a blunt conversation with the team's executives about his continued plans to protest and said he hopes to discuss the reasons behind his protest with his new team.
“I explained to them that my integrity mean everything,” Bennett explained. “I think they respect that about me, they respect who I am as an individual.”
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The trade became official on Monday when the highly competitive NFL team acquired Bennett in a deal with the Philadelphia Eagles. Bennett is an avid Black Lives Matter supporter and has practiced his form of national anthem protests since 2016 after Colin Kaepernick began the #TakeAKnee movement.
The NFL briefly banned taking a knee during the anthem, forcing players who wished to protest during the song to do so in their locker rooms. Although the league walked back that rule, Bennett says he plans to protest with the Patriots by either staying in the locker room or by sitting on his team's bench.
As Yahoo reports, team owner Robert Kraft, quarterback Tom Brady and coach Bill Belichick have all publicly supported Donald Trump, who vehemently opposes protesting during the anthem. According to CBS Boston, Kraft has said he doesn't agree with the president's profane statements on the #TakeAKnee movement. He did, however, vote for punishing any player who protests, The Fader reports.
Bennett said he's looking forward to engaging with team leadership about social justice issues.
“I think it’s important not to run away from those conversations,” Bennett said, adding that he has respect for Belichick "from a football perspective."
The newest Patriot added, “If we don’t allow ourselves to have those conversations, we’re stunting our growth.”
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