• Michael Bennett tells Patriots he'll stay in locker room during national anthem

    Updated:

    Michael Bennett was one of the first NFL players to kneel in protest during the playing of the national anthem, and he doesn't plan to stop as a member of the New England Patriots.

    ESPN reports Bennett spoke at Princeton University after being traded by the Philadelphia Eagles to the Patriots this week and said he would stay in the locker room during the anthem, and even told Patriots executives about his plans. 

    Protests during the national anthem have long drawn the ire of President Donald Trump and Patriots owner Robert Kraft is a longtime friend of the president. Coach Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are believed to be Trump supporters as well, and Bennett says he plans to speak with them about it.

    He told ESPN: "I think it's important not to run away from those conversations, or not hear their ideas about why they think the way they do."

    "I think it's an opportunity for growth to have those conversations," Bennett added. "If we don't allow ourselves to have those conversations, we're stunting our growth.

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    Bennett, considered an impact defensive end on the field, won a Super Bowl with Seattle Seahawks in 2013. His brother, Martellus Bennett, used to play for the Patriots.

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