Local NFL mom backs sons' national anthem protests

HOUSTON - There was a show of unity on Thursday Night Football. The Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers locked arms during the national anthem.

Houston native Martellus Bennett suited up for Green Bay as one of its tight ends. He and his brother Michael, who plays for Seattle, have been outspoken in the debate over anthem protests.

It turns out their mother has plenty to say about it, too.

"When I first saw it on Sunday and across the league, it was tear-jerking," said Pennie Bennett, referring to last Sunday's league-wide display of protest and solidarity. "I mean, my goodness. Seeing the magnification of it and how the entire league and so many players are getting on board is amazing. They understand the importance of unity and equality."

Pennie Bennett fully supports her two boys standing up for what they believe in and says some misunderstand the reason for the protest.

"People only see the action," she said. "They don't see the motive behind the actions -- the actions that are genuine, heartfelt and caring. It's just for equality."

She said President Donald Trump calling out players for disrespecting the flag is "disrespectful."

"I find it distasteful and disturbing that a leader, that someone in his position would make that type of statement," Pennie Bennett said. "You're not only insulting the players, but you're insulting us as parents."

Pennie Bennett is a special needs teacher in the Alief ISD system. Both Michael and Martellus graduated from Alief Taylor High School. Their father, Michael, also served in the military himself.

She said as an educator, kids in school playing football shouldn't just emulate or mimic what their pro idols like her sons are doing. She believes it should come from within; that if you kneel, for example, you have to believe in that act.

© 2017 KHOU-TV


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