“To have that conversation, to have them understand me, and for me to understand them, was very emotional for me.” – Bennett on meeting with a group of veterans to discuss the national anthem protest
“The message has always been that we want equality for every single human being.” – Bennett
STAMFORD, Conn. – October 1, 2017 – Tonight’s Week 4 edition of NBC’s Football Night in America, the most-watched weekly studio show in sports, will feature an interview by Sunday Night Football sideline reporter Michele Tafoya with Seattle Seahawks DE Michael Bennett, on the context of his national anthem protest, his meeting with a group of veterans on the topic, as well as his team’s on-field performance.
Football Night will also include highlights, analysis and reaction to earlier Week 4 games, ahead of tonight’s Colts-Seahawks Sunday Night Football showdown.
Football Night airs each Sunday at 7 p.m. ET on NBC. Mike Tirico will host Sunday’s program live from inside the stadium, joined on site by the Sunday Night Football team of Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth and Tafoya.
Dan Patrick hosts Football Night from NBC Sports Group’s Studio 1, joined by Super Bowl-winning head coach Tony Dungy, two-time Super Bowl winner Rodney Harrison, and NFL Insider Mike Florio of NBC Sports’ Pro Football Talk. Paul Burmeister will report from Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver, Colo., on the Raiders-Broncos game.
INTERVIEW: Below are excerpts from Tafoya’s interview with Bennett. If used, please note the mandatory credit: “In an exclusive interview airing tonight on Football Night in America.”
MICHELE TAFOYA WITH MICHAEL BENNETT
Bennett: “I’ve seen veterans out there protesting, and it’s their right to do that. I just wanted to pull over and get the chance to understand. If I’m going to show and ask for certain things, I need to ask that of myself, to be in that position, to sit there and have a conversation with them, to hear their stories and understand that a lot of things that they’ve been through, I’ve never experienced. A lot of things that I’ve been through, they’ve never experienced. So, there’s some common ground and things that we share such as values and what we believe in. To have that conversation, to have them understand me, and for me to understand them was very emotional for me…I learned that they’re not that much different from me or different from what we want to do. Everything that they did in the military is about team. For me, it’s the same thing in football. Everything we do is about team and brotherhood. It was just about listening to them. That’s what they really love, that I took the time to stop. I could have done anything. To me, it was about stopping and hearing their voice.”
Bennett on why he sits during the anthem: “My intention is to change the culture. We had to come to a belief that what we do does not define who we are. What we do does not make us. How we love, that defines us, and how we care for the people, that’s what defines us. That’s what we talked about. How can we care and how can we give to the community and show people that we have compassion for both. We have nothing against the military flag. We love the military and America. But, we don’t love oppression, we don’t love discrimination, we don’t love racism. For us, that’s what it was about.”
“I simply ask the question, why in the game do we feel unified, but once we leave that stadium, we’re not unified? For me, that’s just what it is really about, and I just worry that people get so lost in a demonstration and what we’re trying to do that I just want to keep the message. The message has always been that we want equality for every single human being. For me, it’s about human beings treating people great. That’s what it’s about every single day.”
Bennett on defense struggles: “For us, it’s just tightening it down and making sure we’re just sticking to the keys. Sometimes when you are a part of something for so long, you forget the little part of it. Making sure we communicate, because sometimes, we’ve been playing the defense and you might think that person knows something, but over-communicating is better than under-communicating, I learned that in marriage. Over-communicating is always better.”
Bennett on his small shoulder pads: “My shoulders are so big. You have to see it from my point of view, like Coach Carroll. My shoulders are so big that it makes my shoulder pads look small. I really have normal shoulder pads, but, to the common eye they really can’t see my shoulders…I have great hands, I use my hands really good. No matter where I’m at around the country, people always ask me about my pads. They’re small, but I love them. I just feel free. Back in Tampa in college, I always used to have them, and then they just started getting smaller and smaller. It just makes me feel free out there. I just love my pads.”
Bennett on how he feels when he makes a sack: “It’s just so great. It’s like the first time every single time. Making a sack is really cool. It’s one of the best parts about playing the game. You work so hard to get that sack, and when you finally get it, it’s like everything.”
Bennett on the team’s recent struggles: “I know who we are. I just want to want to see us be ourselves. Being ourselves is great.”
–FOOTBALL NIGHT IN AMERICA–