Michael Bennett will continue to sit during anthem, even if NFL mandates standing

Despite constant criticism from President Donald Trump over the last month, the NFL hasn't made any changes to its national anthem policy. As it stands, there is no league mandate that players have to stand during the anthem, and even if a rules change does come about, Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett will continue to sit during the anthem to protest social inequality.

"I plan on sitting down," Bennett said Wednesday, via the Washington Post. "Like I said, I'll continue to do what I've been doing. The consequences are the consequences."

Bennett added that any negotiation between the league and its players as it relates to the anthem should only happen after an NFL team signs Colin Kaepernick who, depending on who you ask, has been blackballed for his decision to kneel during the anthem last season. He has been a free agent since March and hasn't even had a workout, despite several teams having needs at quarterback.

"I think the first step to even being able to even have a conversation is to make sure that Colin Kaepernick gets an opportunity to play in the NFL," Bennett said, via Pro Football Talk. "I think before we even negotiate anything about whether we sit or whether we stand should be a negotiation about opening up the doors for Colin Kaepernick and give him an opportunity again, because I feel like through everything that's been lost, I think all of us are having opportunities to be able to speak to our employers, but to think about the guy who started everything not to be able to have a voice at this moment, it just doesn't seem very right to me."

For Bennett's teammate, cornerback Richard Sherman, it's clear why Kaepernick remains unemployed

"People should be losing their jobs, because they are idiots. You've heard every excuse in the book for why [Kaepernick] doesn't have a job, but you can see what it is. They've agreed not to give him a job."

Meanwhile, Giants co-owner John Mara has said this week that he would like his players to stand for the anthem but added "at the end of the day, this is America, and we do have a thing called the First Amendment. And it's a right of free speech and a right to protest. That's one of the things our forefathers fought and died for, and that continues to be a principle that's very important to most of us."

This is in stark contract to Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who made it clear that any player that disrespects the flag will be benched. That proclamation did not sit well with Bennett.

"If teams don't want guys to play, even if you think about what Jerry Jones said, it's crazy," Bennett said. "It's inconsiderate of a person being a human being. To me, I just thought it reminded me of the Dred Scott case. You're property, so you don't have the ability to be a person first. And I think in this generation that sends the wrong message to young kids and young people across the world: that your employer doesn't see you as a human being; they see you as a piece of property."

During the preseason -- and following the violent "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Va., left one woman dead and 19 injured -- Bennett called for white players to join his protest

"It would take a white player to really get things changed," Bennett said during an appearance on ESPN. "Because when somebody from the other side understands and they step up and they speak up about it. ... it would change the whole conversation. Because when you bring somebody who doesn't have to be a part of [the] conversation making himself vulnerable in front of it, I think when that happens, things will really take a jump."

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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