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NFL players continue to protest national anthem during opening weekend of the regular season

Marshawn Lynch was among the players who remained seated during the Star-Spangled Banner.

Image: Jeffrey Phelps

SEATTLE’S MICHAEL BENNETT and Oakland’s Marshawn Lynch joined other NFL athletes Sunday in protesting the treatment of minorities by US law enforcement during the first weekend of the regular season.

Both Bennett and Lynch remained seated during The Star-Spangled Banner before the Seahawks and Raiders season-opening games as part of a continuing wave of protests that began last year with former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Bennett sat as teammate Justin Britt stood next to him with his hand on his shoulder while another teammate, Thomas Rawls, stood on Bennett’s other side before the game against the Green Bay Packers.

Bennett’s brother, Martellus, who plays for the Packers, stood at the end of the Green Bay bench with his right fist in the air.

Two weeks ago, Bennett was detained on a Las Vegas street for about 10 minutes by police who were investigating the firing of gunshots in the area.

Bennett has alleged that he had been the victim of racial discrimination after being threatened at gunpoint by the police. He said they “singled” him out for “nothing more than being a black man in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Police denied the charge and said Bennett was detained briefly because he was spotted running from the police before jumping over a wall. Bennett was handcuffed but police did not arrest or charge him.

Raiders runningback Lynch also sat during the anthem just like he did a number of times during the preseason. Lynch, unlike Bennett, has declined to discuss his reasons for doing so.

In Cleveland, players linked arms with police, military and firefighters during the anthem before the Browns’ opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers. No players knelt during the song.

Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins and Los Angeles Rams linebacker Robert Quinn also raised their fists in protest before their games started.

Kaepernick remains unsigned after trying unsuccessfully to land a job with another team following his release from the 49ers.

© AFP 2017

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