Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett’s well-documented support of free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick carried over into his session with Seattle reporters Wednesday.
As Bennett answered questions he wore a shirt and cap bearing the slogan of Kaepernicks’ “Know Your Rights” camp.
But while Bennett has previously said he wishes the Seahawks had signed Kaepernick — the team instead signed Austin Davis as a backup to Russell Wilson — he didn’t question Seattle’s decision in comments Wednesday.
He did, however, appear to give some credence to what some have speculation could be a reason the Seahawks sided with Davis instead — that they weren’t looking for someone who might provide competition for Wilson.
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Bennett was asked what he thought of the statement of coach Pete Carroll that Kaepernick is a starting-caliber QB and the Seahawks already have a starter.
“I think that’s what is his opinion,” Bennett said. “I think his opinion is a valid opinion. He’s the head coach. He’s the leader of the organization when it comes to picking players. If he feels that this is not the right situation because we have a starting quarterback, then that’s his choice. I think he’s able to have that choice because he’s shown that he’s of a winning pedigree. He wants to make sure he doesn’t have that competition behind his quarterback — I think it’s justifiable.”
Bennett, though, said he also didn’t know for sure why Seattle didn’t sign Kaepernick while saying the Seahawks deserve praise for giving him a look
“I don’t know what factors into the Seahawks not signing him,” Kaepernick said. “I know the Seahawks were the only team that stepped up and gave him the opportunity to [visit]. So that says a lot about the organization. I think our organization is built around community. If you look at the way that the Seahawks move, if you look at the way that our team moves, if you look at the people that work in the building and this organization is built around community. So I’m not surprised that the Seahawks were the one to look at Kaepernick or gave him the opportunity to even try out.”
Bennett said he didn’t know what Kaepernick thinks of Seattle’s pursuit of him — Kaepernick re-tweeted two tweets stating that money was not a factor after it was revealed that the Seahawks would instead sign Davis but said anyone would “be mad” if they couldn’t do something they have done their entire life.
Asked why he thinks Kaepernick remains unsigned, Bennett didn’t use the phrase “blackballed” but reiterated what he has said in the past that it is not due to football reasons and instead due to the former 49ers’ QB political stances.
“There is no logical explanation,” Bennett said. “Obviously, there’s the elephant in the room why Kaepernick isn’t signed and most people know why. I’ve said this several times and I’m not afraid to say it – I think race and politics in sports is something people don’t want to hear about, nor do people want to be a part of. I think if you bring the issue of oppressed people onto a stage where there’s millions of fans watching, bring up dirty little secrets, I think a lot of people don’t want to hear that. People just want to see people score touchdowns and make big hits. They don’t want to hear about people getting killed by police or gentrification or women’s rights issues. Nobody wants to hear about that. Standing Rock – nobody wants to hear about that. People just want to hear about athletes and sports. But in this generation, athletes are supposed to use our platform to make change. What are we supposed to do when we are part of America? Are we supposed to just stay in our homes and not speak up on issues? No, I think it’s different. I think we’re supposed to go back and continuously bring up the issues and continuously inspire the youth that look up to us. That’s our job as athletes and that’s our job as human being. I think a human rights issue is everybody’s problem. Every issue we’re dealing with race is everybody’s issue. I think every issue we’re dealing with women’s rights is everybody’s problem. So until everybody feels like it’s a problem, then it’s going to continuously be a problem.”