National Football League (NFL) star Michael Bennett on Thursday stood for the national anthem to honor military veterans, according to The Seattle Times.
The Times on Thursday reported that Bennett had previously vowed to remain seated for “The Star-Spangled Banner” before all of his games this year.
Bennett and all of his fellow Seattle Seahawks players rose to their feet, however, when the song began before their tilt with the Arizona Cardinals that evening.
“We just wanted to support the vets,” Bennett said after the Seahawks emerged victorious 22-17.
“There’s this narrative that we don’t support the military, that we hate the military,” Bennett added. “But it’s never been about that.”
“It’s important for us to show gratitude for the men and women who serve this country every single moment we can, and today was one of those times we were able to show our support for them and what they do for us, and how they sacrifice for their families.”
Thursday’s game at University of Phoenix Stadium was the Cardinal’s “Salute to Service” night, and came two days before Veterans Day.
Bennett is the son of a Navy veteran, and the defensive end has previously emphasized that he respects the military.
The football player began sitting for the anthem last September at his first game of the year, arguing he was doing so to advocate for minority rights.
Bennett stood for the song during his team’s Oct. 8 contest against the Los Angeles Rams, however, to honor those lost in a mass shooting in Las Vegas the week before.
Scores of NFL employees have knelt or sat during the national anthem this year after President Trump called for the league to fire such individuals.
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the song in 2016 to protest America’s racial injustice.
Critics have since argued the widely-replicated gesture is unpatriotic, while its supporters counter it is a valid expression of free speech.