Michael Bennett is standing for anthem at teammates’ request

Charean Williams

Cowboys defensive lineman Michael Bennett paced the bench area during the national anthem Sunday night. He didn’t have his toes on the line, but Bennett also didn’t sit down or stay in the locker room.

The Cowboys have never had a player protest during the national anthem, and they have no plans to start now.

When the Cowboys began talking trade for Bennett, Bennett’s national anthem stance was discussed. Bennett disputed Monday that he had a pre-trade agreement with the Cowboys, and instead said he is standing for the anthem at the request of his teammates.

“I feel at this point in my career if my teammates asked me to do something and I can do it,” Bennett told Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “I know people want make it what it what they want to. I don’t know what to tell them.”

While he was with the Seahawks in 2017, Bennett sat during the anthem in protest of social inequality and police brutality. Bennett stayed in the Eagles’ locker room during the anthem last season and during the first six games this season while with New England.

So he is standing for the anthem for the first time since 2016.

Bennett has heard the critics who now are questioning his motives after the Cowboys re-worked his contract, allowing him to become a free agent in March.

Bennett, who published a book in 2018 titled “Things That Make White People Uncomfortable,” said he is in discussion with the NFL about teaching a class on racism at an Ivy League school.

Standing for the anthem does not change his activism or his stance, no pun intended, he insists.

“This is doesn’t take away what I have done . . . and the stances that I took, the death threats I have had on my life. I have done it all,” Bennett said. “I don’t think it makes me less of a person or makes them less of people. At the end of the day, people get caught into certain things and don’t get caught up into what people are doing to change society. We all are men. We are all trying to figure it out. None of us are finished products when it comes to society.

“I am a black man. I have always said that. I have always stood on what I have believed in every single situation whether it’s with Donald Trump, whether it was with the police, whether it was with police brutality, how women of color have been treated, how much money I have donated to different things, the causes I have stood up with, the people I have stood with. It doesn’t make me less of a person.”