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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Aggie athletes speak out through sports

Photo by By Alex Miller

Texas A&M head football coach Kevin Sumlin was proud of the university’s decision to cancel the white lives matter protest.

After the announcement of a planned white lives matter rally in the heart of campus, Texas A&M officials canceled the event in the days following the initial press release.
A&M head football coach Kevin Sumlin spoke Saturday night following practice on the decision to not allow a white nationalist event on campus.
“I’m really proud of that,” Sumlin said. “I was thankful and very, very proud of Chancellor Sharp and our president to put an end to it. That’s the only way I can put it without going in depth about it. When leadership like that comes to the front and our leadership did that. We’ve talked about it as a team too and our appreciation for our leadership to step in this situation is big from players, big from our coaching staff, it’s big from everyone.”
These comments come at a time when athletes — collegiate and professional — are speaking out on current social events.
Current Seattle Seahawks and former A&M defensive end Michael Bennett has been noticeably outspoken on social issues. Most recently, he decided to protest by sitting on the bench throughout the playing of the national anthem.
In an interview with CNN, Bennett said his intentions of sitting during the national anthem are not to disrespect the flag or the country, but to instead preserve what it stands for.
“I’m not protesting the flag,” Bennett said to CNN. “I’m actually trying to honor what we’re supposed to be honoring, the freedom of America, the equality of America, the justice for all and the liberty. Those are the things that I’m trying to remind people that we all fought for, the forefathers. We said we would fight against terrorists, domestic and foreign, and right now there’s whole bunch of domestic terrorism, domestic hate going on.”
to watch the events unfolding in Charlottesville, Virginia without doing or saying something about it. His intentions with his actions are to use his platform to create a dialogue.
“I want to bring up those issues and create those conversations and get people off their butt and go out and try to act and fix the problems and go out and work with people of different races, different colors, different sexes, different genders, whatever it is, just go out and try to find out how to help instead of being a problem and sitting back and being silent,” Bennett said. “I think at this point, if you’re silent right now, you’re being dishonest about the truth of what’s going on.”
There is sentiment by some people across the nation that not standing for the national anthem is a disrespect to current and former service members. Bennett said that he and his brother Martellus, also a former Texas A&M football player, have several family members in the military, including their father and mean no disrespect.
“I would say I honor the military every time I see them, and at this point, like I said, I’m actually not dishonoring the contributions that they made if somebody loses their life,” Bennett said. “I’m actually trying to honor that. I’m honoring the freedom and liberty that they’ve fought for to be able to have that. That’s the thing I’m really trying to honor. I’m not trying to dishonor the flag. I’m more about the principles, honoring the principles that America was built on and it’s the liberty, freedom and justice.”
In the Seahawks’ second preseason game, Bennett once again sat during the national anthem, this time with teammate Justin Britt standing next to him in solidarity. When asked about it, Britt simply stated he wanted people to notice.
“That’s kind of the purpose: to make people notice you and make them not ignore it,’’ Britt said.
As for Bennett, he said he will continue to sit until he sees equality and freedom across the country.

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