Apparently, the reason defensive lineman Michael Bennett gave up his four years of protesting during the national anthem is because his new teammates asked him to when he joined the Cowboys last month.
Bennett was one of the first players to join Colin Kaepernick in his protest against the country in 2016 and spent the following three seasons remaining in the locker room during the anthem. But when he took the field for the first time as a Dallas Cowboy last week, he stood shoulder-to-shoulder on the sidelines with his new teammates for the song.
Bennett had said that he did not make any pre-trade agreements with the team regarding his protests. Still, at the end of October, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett told reporters that the team expected Bennett to do what all the other players did for the anthem.
The Cowboys is one of the few NFL teams that never had a player protest during the national anthem.
Now, more details are emerging as to why Bennett gave up his protests upon his trade to the Cowboys.
In an interview with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Bennett hinted that it was his new teammates that convinced him to give up his protests.
“I feel at this point in my career if my teammates asked me to do something, and I can do it,” Bennett said.
The player more famous for his protesting than his playing, also insisted that allowing his anthem protest to fade into the past does not diminish his activism.
“This 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 told the paper. “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,” he concluded. “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.”
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