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Justin Britt, Derek Carr and Chris Long answer call for white players to join national anthem movement

Justin Britt, Derek Carr and Chris Long answer call for white players to join national anthem movement
Seattle center Justin Britt (68) stands with his hand on defensive end Michael Bennett, who is seated druing the national anthem on Friday. (Scott Eklund / Associated Press)

Last week, Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett called for white NFL players to join the movement of using the national anthem to make social commentary.

The Seahawks’ Justin Britt, Oakland’s Derek Carr and Philadelphia's Chris Long answered the call during this weekend’s NFL preseason games. All three of them stood during ”The Star-Spangled Banner,” but did so with a hand on or an arm around an African American teammate.

Bennett sat alone on the bench during the anthem before his team’s game against Minnesota on Friday night, but Seattle center Britt stood next to Bennett with his hand on his shoulder.

“It was something me and my wife talked about and discussed. We both wanted to show support to Mike,” Britt said. “I talked to him before, made sure it was all right with him, and of course it was. I feel like what I did, I believe in it. I'm going to continue to educate myself and try to understand why things are going wrong.”

Bennett said of Britt’s gesture: “It was very touching for me, a very emotional moment to have that kind of solidarity from someone like Justin Britt. To be able to have that solidarity and be able to have somebody who is behind me and somebody who I really trust and to be able to see him put everything on the line to support one of his teammates was a very special moment.”

One night earlier before the Eagles' exhibition game against Buffalo, Philadelphia defensive end Long put his arm around teammate Malcolm Jenkins during the anthem. Jenkins stood with his right fist in the air as he has done since last season.

"I think it's a good time for people that look like me to be there for people that are fighting for equality," Long said.

"I've said before that I'll never kneel for an anthem because the flag means something different for everybody in this country, but I support my peers. If you don't see why you need allies for people that are fighting for equality right now, I don't think you'll ever see it. Malcolm is a leader and I'm here to show support as a white athlete."

Jenkins said of Long: "His biggest thing was that he feels that white men need to step up and be allies. This is a moment he feels he needs to take the step out and lead."

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During the anthem before the Raiders-Rams game Saturday night, Oakland quarterback Carr kept his arm around teammate Khalil Mack.

Mack said he and Carr wanted to show that "different races can get along — white, black, whatever you are -- get along and be friends and ... just show unity. Show togetherness."

Carr said: “We’re not protesting. We’re not doing anything like that. What we wanted to do is show all the kids that look up to me, look up to him that white kids, black kids, brown kids, blue, green — it doesn’t matter — can all be loving to each other. And that’s what me and Khalil are. We’re best friends, and we love one another.”

Twitter: @chewkiii

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