For Pete's Sake

Former Mizzou star stands with Seahawks teammate during anthem protest

Seattle Seahawks center Justin Britt hugged defensive end Michael Bennett before Friday’s game.
Seattle Seahawks center Justin Britt hugged defensive end Michael Bennett before Friday’s game. The Associated Press

Less than a week after Seahawks star defensive end Michael Bennett talked about the importance of a white player joining in the national anthem protest he is a part of, a teammate stood with him Friday night.

Ahead of Seattle’s preseason game against Minnesota, Bennett took a seat on the bench when the national anthem was played. Former Mizzou star Justin Britt, the Seahawks’ center, stood next to Bennett and put a hand on Bennett’s shoulder.

Seattle cornerback Jeremy Lane also stood by Bennett.

Bennett told NFL.com’s Steve Wyche that he decided to sit during the anthem to raise awareness to racism and intolerance.

Britt, who went to Missouri and was picked in the second round of the 2014 draft, was quoted on the Seahawks web site as saying he wanted to show support for Bennett and the stance he is taking.

“I’m not foolish, I’m from Missouri, I get things are different in that area than in some other areas,” Britt told the Seahawks site. “I’m not against what the flag means and veterans — my dad was in the Army — so I’m not putting any disrespect to them. I’m just trying to understand the issues, trying to educate myself more in that regard, and show support. I’m going to continue to try to understand what’s going on in the world and why it’s happening, because none of it’s right, none of it should be happening.”

Britt, who grew up in Lebanon, Mo., said he talked with Bennett before doing it, and called it a “first step.”

After the game, Britt tweeted a quote he attributed to Benjamin Franklin: “Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.”

That tweet had been liked 66,000 times and retweeted 32,000 times.

“I don’t see it as leadership, I see it as something bigger than the team, bigger than this organization, bigger than football, and definitely bigger than myself,” Britt said on the Seahawks site. “You can say it’s leadership, but I just did it because I support Mike.

“Being from Missouri and seeing things happening around the world that aren’t right, I just felt like I wanted to take a stand and be with Mike, and hopefully what I did encourages others to go out and look at it and really see what’s going on, not just be blind to it.”

Pete Grathoff: 816-234-4330, @pgrathoff

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