Seattle Seahawks

Pete Carroll disagrees with sitting for national anthem but supports Michael Bennett

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Tuesday that while he believes everyone should stand for the national anthem, he supports defensive lineman Michael Bennett’s decision to sit.

Bennett remained seated during the anthem before the Seahawks’ preseason opener Sunday night in Carson, Calif., saying afterward that he did so – and will continue to do so – in the name of equality.

The gesture came as a surprise to Carroll and Bennett’s teammates. Carroll said he’s spoken with Bennett a couple times since then, and that while he disagrees with the method of Bennett’s protest, he knows Bennett’s “heart is in a great place.”

“I support the heck out of his concerns and his issues and all that,” Carroll said. “When it comes to it, I love our country and I think we should all stand for the opportunities when the flag is represented. But the fact that his heart is in a great place and he’s going to do great work, well after the time he’s with us, and it’s easy for me to support him and his issues. But I think we should all be standing up when we’re playing the national anthem.”

Bennett told reporters Sunday night that he plans to continue sitting during the anthem, though Carroll said Tuesday that Bennett hasn’t indicated that to him.

Wide receiver Doug Baldwin said he has considered joining Bennett in sitting for the anthem. While being careful not to speak on Bennett’s behalf – he was not available to local media Tuesday – Baldwin said he knows that Bennett’s purpose is to “better our society” and not to be divisive or negative.

“We’re going to have a conversation here shortly,” Baldwin said about possibly joining Bennett in sitting for the anthem. “We try to do things as a team, as a family. We’ll see how we can support Mike in this situation.”