Giants fans heckled Seahawks players for sitting during the national anthem. Michael Bennett's response? "I said 'God Bless You.'"

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Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett had little choice last Sunday but to hear from some critics of his decision to sit for the national anthem.

After Bennett and the rest of the team’s defensive line sat for the anthem (the rest of the linemen saying they are largely doing so in solidarity with Bennett) a few Giants’ fans ripped into Bennett and teammate Cliff Avril (who is not on the active roster but was on the sidelines and also sat for the anthem), among others. The incident was captured by Seattle Times photographer Dean Rutz (a Seahawks official said the team has not heard from the NFL about the incident, though it appeared that stadium security arrived to tell at least one fan to stop his heckling).

In his first public comments on the incident Thursday, Bennett pretty much shrugged it off as no big deal.

“I said ‘God Bless You,”’ Bennett said of what he said back to the fans. “That’s what I was trying to say to them most of the time. It was one of those things, you are always going to have people who disagree with whatever you believe in or whatever you are doing. So for us it was just another fan heckling us during the game. But we were just trying to play in the game. But I think he got into it with Cliff, but I think Cliff ended up being the bigger person and that was just another experience of fans overstepping their boundary.”

Bennett knows his decision to sit for the anthem is not popular with some (it even defies the wishes of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who said last week the league’s goal is that all players stand for the anthem, though there is no specific policy on it). But Bennett has said he plans to continue to sit and isn’t worried about what people think.

“I don’t really pay attention to fans that much,” Bennett said. “I just kind of keep focusing on the issues at hand, the task and the work. You can’t really focus on what people are saying or what people are trying to do or what people are saying toward you. You just have to focus on what you believe in. For me and the rest of the guys I think that’s what we are going to believe in because at the end of the day people are going to hate you regardless of what you do, no mater what. You can win the Super Bowl and you can do whatever you want but when someone wants to disagree with you for your beliefs it’s just what they are going to do. For us, we are just going to keep focusing on the mission. I think our organization has done a great job of stepping up to the plate and being able to put us in great position, from the media staff and the head coach, to be able to talk and articulate our mission in a positive fashion.”

Bennett has also heard critics of his version of events from an incident in Las Vegas in August when he said he was the victim of racial profiling and excessive force when he was taken down at gunpoint by officers who were investigating a report of an active shooter at a casino.

Las Vegas police later released video of the end of the incident in which Bennett is being interviewed by an officer.

Bennett said he has not seen the video, saying “I was there. I don’t need to see the video.”

But he also noted Thursday that the video does not show the takedown and as such wouldn’t refute his version of the beginning of the incident.

“I don’t have a response to them (people who say the video disproves his story) because nobody can be in my position,’’ he said. “Obviously at the end of the thing I am talking to the officers who weren’t a part of it. Got taken to another officer and that’s the one I ended up talking to towards the end. Like I said I don’t hate anybody or have any problem with any police officer. It’s just what happened to me was a certain situation.

“Like I said, people are entitled to their position and what they believe in no matter what happens. So at the end of the day there are going to be people who believe me and people who don’t believe me and my ultimate goal is not to make everybody believe me or make everybody happy but me being able to sleep at night and continuously speak about what happened to me personally.’’