GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Packers tight end Martellus Bennett helped author the team's statement inviting fans to join in their anthem demonstration before Thursday night's game against the Bears at Lambeau Field.
The players and coaches have announced they will join in a united front, locking arms during the playing of the national anthem. Click here to read the statement from the Green Bay Packers players.
As Martellus will tell us, he's not just a football player.
"You can't tell me to just talk about one thing, because I am not just one thing," Bennett said. "No one is. I'm a dad, so I like to talk about dad stuff. I have a wife, so I like to talk about things as a husband. There are Christians on the team, so I like to talk about things as a Christian. We are dynamic individuals.”
Bennett’s brother, Seahawks defender Michael Bennett, says he was unfairly racially profiled by Las Vegas police in August.
That experience, coupled with President Trump’s inflammatory remarks last week, escalated the rhetoric regarding NFL anthem demonstrations.
"If you let someone tell you what you are worth, you will always end up on the clearance rack,” Bennett said. "If you look at the message, it has never been about veterans or the military on anything like that. I think people are trying to avoid the conversation by changing the conversation.”
That conversation has played out in the comment sections on social media posts all week. But the conversation has largely reverted to anger about NFL anthem demonstrations, instead of the reasoning behind the players’ stance.
"People don't want to talk about racism,” Bennett said. “People don't want to talk about oppression. They want to be oblivious so they don't have to deal with it. And when it comes to sports, people want to be even more distracted from what's really going on in the world.
"But this is a conversation you can't avoid. They've been avoiding it for so long, but now there is nowhere you can go to avoid it. The place you felt like you could avoid it with was sports, and now you still have to have this conversation. One way or another, you're going to have to talk about it.”
Bennett’s anthem stances evolved throughout the last two months. In the preseason he stood alone behind his teammates in Denver. He raised a fist before the first two regular season games. Last weekend Bennett sat with teammates Lance Kendricks and Kevin King before the game against Cincinnati.
Thursday night, the entire team plans to share the same message through the same pose, locking arms.
"The ultimate goal is to live in a world without being judged for who you are and how you look."