Seahawks’ Michael Bennett continues to sit during national anthem in home opener

Michael Bennett, center, is joined by teammates Thomas Rawls, left, and Justin Britt, right, as he sits during the singing of the national anthem before a game against the San Francisco 49ers.
Michael Bennett, center, is joined by teammates Thomas Rawls, left, and Justin Britt, right, as he sits during the singing of the national anthem before a game against the San Francisco 49ers. –AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

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SEATTLE (AP) — Michael Bennett was the first Seattle Seahawks player announced during pregame introductions before the home opener against San Francisco, receiving one of the loudest ovations.

It was the second show of support for Seattle’s outspoken defensive end on Sunday.

Outside of CenturyLink Field, a group of protesters supporting Bennett gathered prior to the game. The group expressed its support for Bennett after he says he was subjected to racial profiling and excessive force when Las Vegas police detained him last month. Protesters also showed support for quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who is still without a job after his anthem protests a year ago. It was a small protest with about 50 people participating.

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Among those participating in the pregame rally was Bennett’s younger brother, Reshaud.

“It means everything. It’s always good to have your family support you and also a lot of people in the city to supporting me. I think it was just a really good thing,” Bennett said after Seattle’s 12-9 victory.

When the anthem began Sunday, Bennett took what’s become his usual seat on the bench. Seattle center Justin Britt and running back Thomas Rawls stood next to Bennett each with a hand on his shoulder during the anthem. Teammates Cliff Avril and Frank Clark also sat with Bennett for the final few bars of the anthem.