New England Patriots

By Ty Anderson,

A move to New England will not stop defensive end Michael Bennett from being Michael Bennett.

That means that the 33-year-old Bennett, an outspoken talent and the author of “Things That Make White People Uncomfortable,” will continue to remain in the locker room during the national anthem as a form of peaceful protest.

While the Patriots themselves haven’t had any sort of issues with players kneeling or protesting the anthem, the act is nothing new to Bennett, who used to sit on the bench during it before simply remaining in the locker room for it. It’s also something Bennett strongly believes in given his friendship with Colin Kaepernick and what his decision meant for the rest of the NFL.

“Colin is one of the best fighters for justice and equality in sports history,” Bennett, familiar with Kaepernick during their wars for NFC West supremacy when Bennett was a Seahawk and Kaepernick a 49er, wrote in his book. “They can lock Kaepernick out of the league, but more and more players are taking up the cause.”

But Bennett’s protest is something he insists the Patriots are OK with following a meeting with team executives.

“I explained to them that my integrity means everything,” Bennett said during an appearance at Princeton University. “I think they respect that about me, they respect who I am as an individual.

“The Patriots have been trying to trade for me for two years. Last year they tried to get me, the year before they tried to get me.”

It’s a change of scenery that Bennett is excited about, calling Patriots coach Bill Belichick ‘the Yoda’ of football.

Bennett also admitted that he has an interest in talking to both Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady about their apparent support for President Donald Trump.

“I think it’s important not to to run away from those conversations, or not hear their ideas about why they think the way they do,” Bennett offered. “I think it’s an opportunity for growth to have those conversations.

“If we don’t allow ourselves to have those conversations, we’re stunting our growth.”

The Patriots acquired Bennett (and a 2020 seventh-round pick) from the Eagles in exchange for a 2020 fifth-round draft pick.

Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for He has also been a voting member of the Boston Chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association since 2013. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter @_TyAnderson.