The Dallas Cowboys have “reached an understanding” with their new defensive lineman, Michael Bennett, and expect him to stand on the sidelines for the national anthem every game.
“We’re excited to have him here as a player,” coach Jason Garrett said, according to The Dallas Morning News. “We anticipate him doing what all of our players do.”
Bennett, who was acquired by the Cowboys in a trade with the New England Patriots during the team’s “bye week,” has used the anthem controversy to raise awareness of racial inequality, police brutality and social justice issues for the past several seasons.
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He waited in the Patriots locker room while the anthem was played before joining the team on the sideline before kickoff, and did the same with the Philidelphia Eagles during the 2018 season.
While a member of the Seattle Seahawks, Bennett sat during “The Star-Spangled Banner.” In 2017, he accused the Las Vegas Police Department of using excessive force when he was detained as he was walking to his hotel room following a boxing match.
Police said Bennett failed to stop for officers searching a crowd for what they believed was an active shooter. That year, he explained why he was using the anthem as a social justice platform.
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“I don’t love segregation. I don’t love riots. I don’t love oppression,” he said. “I just want to see people have the equality that they deserve.”
Bennett had his first practice with the Cowboys Tuesday morning but was not in the locker room when reporters were allowed inside.
Along with other players, Bennett began taking a knee during the anthem during the 2017 season, drawing rebuke from some fans and lawmakers, including President Trump, and praise from others.
The protest trend has spread to other sports and elements of society across all ages groups, including youth leagues.
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Cowboys owner Jerry Jone has said the team has a policy requiring players to stand for the anthem. On Tuesday, he said he expects Bennett to follow suit, the paper reported.
“I’m satisfied that, in Michael, we’ve got a player who knows how we do it here with the Cowboys,” Jones said during a morning radio appearance on 105.3 The Fan on KRLD-FM.