The Seattle Seahawks’ Michael Bennett compared Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones mandate that players who don’t stand for the national anthem will not play to the infamous Dred Scott U.S. Supreme Court case that stated blacks were not citizens of the U.S., but property.
Bennett called Jones’ mandate “crazy” and “inconsiderate of a person being a human being.”
“It reminded me of the Dred Scott case: You’re property, so you don’t have the ability to be a person first,” Bennett said, according to ESPN.com.
“I think that in this generation, I think that sends the wrong message to young kids and young people all across the world that your employer doesn’t see you as a human being, they see you as a piece of property, and if that’s the case, then I don’t get it. I just don’t get why you don’t see us as human beings first.”
The Dred Scott case was an 1857 Supreme Court decision that stated that black people were not considered a person under the U.S. Constitution and not subject to its protections as slaves were considered property.
Yet, the NBA has a rule that its players must stand for the national anthem.
Not only that, but law enforcement agencies strictly regulate both the on-duty and off-duty speech of their employees. Bennett has not stood up for officers’ right to speech.
The NFL has long sanctioned forms of expression allowed by NFL players and coaches and even teams.
NFL players and coaches are routinely fined for criticizing referees after games.
Marshawn Lynch, who is allowed to sit during the national anthem by the NFL, was fined by the NFL in 2014 for refusing to talk to the media.
The NFL denied the Dallas Cowboys’ request to use a helmet decal that paid tribute to five slain police officers murdered in 2016.
Bennett’s comments were made as the NFL owners and players tried to work out a solution to the national anthem controversy that is hurting the league’s popularity.
TV ratings have fallen since the anti-police National Anthem and flag protests began in 2016.
Bennett said that until controversial quarterback Colin Kaepernick is signed by an NFL team, he doesn’t see progress being made on the issue.
Kaepernick started the kneeling for the national anthem protests in 2016. Kaepernick sought his release from the 49ers but has not been picked by another team this season.
“I think the first step to even being able to even have a conversation is making sure that Colin Kaepernick gets an opportunity to play in the NFL,” Bennett said Wednesday.
“I think before we even negotiate anything about whether we sit, whether we stand [during the national anthem], it should be a negotiation about opening up the doors for Colin Kaepernick and giving him an opportunity again, because I feel like through everything, that’s been lost.”
Bennett made news earlier this year when he lied about Las Vegas police targeting him because of his skin color.
The Las Vegas Police responded by releasing video evidence that showed Bennett’s account of what happened August 26 was not accurate. Bennett was detained for 10 minutes and handcuffed after police were called to an active shooter in a Las Vegas casino.
Video Bennett hid behind a gaming machine as the officers approached. Bennett then ran out the door and jumped over a wall, which made the officers suspicious.
Bennett claims that he was singled out for being a black man. Video shows that at the time of his detention, he was surrounded by other black men who were not singled out.
Police said that Bennett’s behavior of crouching, and appearing to hide from officers, before sprinting outside and jumping into traffic, are what caused him to be singled out.
After his detention, Bennett could be seen on body camera stating that the police told everybody not to run, and Bennett ran anyway.