It’s been almost four years since embattled former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick first protested the National Anthem by kneeling during our nation’s song pregame.
It was a shockwave that sent ripples throughout America and it still continues to be as divisive today as it was then even though there were only a handful of players that kneeled last NFL season.
And Colin Kaepernick’s former colleague and friend just claimed this absurdly racist thing about anyone who was offended by players who kneeled during the National Anthem.
It might just be the most polarizing and divisive act in sports history when Colin Kaepernick decided to first kneel during the National Anthem. Consequently, teammates and colleagues around the league joined Kaepernick to protest America’s song.
It sparked a nationwide debate about what the true intentions and meaning behind the rampant protests was. While some felt it was a protest of police brutality against minorities; specifically African Americans, others felt it was a blatant disrespect for anyone who has given or put their lives on the line for Americans’ freedoms.
One of Kaepernick’s staunchest defenders is his friend and former colleague of the Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots Martellus Bennett. Now retired, Bennett continues to push the envelope on the debate even though those players that still protested by kneeling was scarce last season.
He’s still perpetuating the same pro-kneeling rhetoric and suggested at a Washington, D.C. event hosted by former ESPN employee and outspoken activist against President Trump, Jemele Hill – who once referred to him as a “white supremacist” – that if prominent white NFL quarterbacks joined in on the protest then the conversation would change immediately.
Bennett said, “If Peyton Manning joined the conversation, the conversation in the NFL would change. If Drew Brees came in and really joined the conversation, it would change. Tom Brady. All these great white heroes that they have running around, throwing the football — if they jump into the conversation, it would be so much bigger.”
He’s saying that because they’re white but there’s a much larger elephant in the room insinuating something much more obvious about anybody who feels offended by NFL players kneeling for the National Anthem.
Bennett infers racism amongst those who disagreed with the protest. He’s saying the only reason why white people were offended by the protests was because those players were African Americans and not simply due to aggression against the American flag.
Somehow prominent white NFL quarterbacks are the gateway to justifying their reasons for protesting the National Anthem.
Bennett continued, “If they were to take a knee with Colin Kaepernick, that conversation would totally change. If Tom Brady took a knee, white America would be like, ‘Oh my God. What is this that Tom Brady’s talking about? They would start doing research and would join in the conversation. It would pique their interest. But since it’s a black guy taking a knee, it’s like, ‘Alright, these guys, here he goes again. It’s another one of these guys out here doing this.’”
That is not only categorically false but it’s unbelievably racist. To think just because someone is white would change the conversation is asinine.
One white player already joined in on the conversation and also kneeled during the National Anthem – beloved defensive end Chris Long, formerly of the Philadelphia Eagles and son of Raiders defensive end Howie Long.
And when Bennett was asked about Long he simply said, “Chris Long [joined] the conversation, but he’s a defensive end. I love Chris Long. Chris Long is my boy. Shoutout to Chris. But it’s not the position.”
So with this comment he attempted to alter the narrative, shifting focus towards the position they play and not the race.
But Colin Kaepernick is an African American. So how does his argument hold water if the man who initiated this anthem-kneeling movement was an African American quarterback?