During his one season in Philadelphia last year, Michael Bennett decided to stay in the Eagles‘ locker room during the national anthem, and it appears he’ll be doing the same thing in New England in 2019. 

Before being traded to the Patriots on Friday, Bennett informed the team that he wouldn’t be on the sideline for the national anthem if they added him to the roster. 

“I explained to them is that my integrity mean everything,” Bennett said, via ESPN.com. “I think they respect that about me, they respect who I am as an individual.”

Apparently, the team didn’t have an issue with Bennett’s stance because they went through with the trade. The Patriots’ newest defensive end, who has spent the better part of the past three seasons advocating for change and equality, said the team didn’t have any issue with his stance. 

“The Patriots have been trying to trade for me for two years,” Bennett said. “Last year they tried to get me, the year before they tried to get me.”

Besides Colin Kaepernick, Bennett has been one of the most outspoken NFL players in the fight against racial injustice and police brutality against minorities. In 2018, Bennett put a lot of his thoughts on paper when he released a book called, “Things That Make White People Uncomfortable.”

Although Bennett is staunchly against President Donald Trump, the 33-year-old doesn’t think that will have any impact on his relationship with coach Bill Belichick or team owner Robert Kraft, who both have supported Trump in the past. Despite his political differences with some in the organization, Bennett won’t be shying away from any important conversations. 

“I think it’s important not to to run away from those conversations, or not hear their ideas about why they think the way they do,” Bennett said. “I think it’s an opportunity for growth to have those conversations. If we don’t allow ourselves to have those conversations, we’re stunting our growth.”

Although Bennett’s political beliefs might not be aligned with Belichick’s, his football beliefs definitely are. 

“From a football perspective, there’s a respect for Belichick,” Bennett said. “I consider him the Yoda of football when it comes to the ins and outs of what’s happening around how to prepare for a game.”

One other topic Bennett touched on was the possibility that his brother Martellus might come out of retirement and play for the Patriots. Martellus retired after being cut by the Patriots following the 2017 season, but sounds open to a return now that Michael is in New England.

“I’d love to play with my brother but I don’t want to be the force that forces my brother to play because I’m playing on the team,” Bennett said. “I want him to play purely because he wants to play. The game is played a lot better when you truly want to play because you want to play. It’s important, if he decides to come back, that’s the first thing he should think about. As a brother that’s my ultimate goal to see him happy, and whatever happiness looks for him, that’s what I wanted.”

On Michael’s end, the Patriots’ trade with the Eagles is expected to become official on Wednesday when the free agency period officially opens at 4 p.m. ET. 



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