By Dan Bernstein–
CBSChicago.com senior columnist

(CBS) The protest is only the first part, the attention-grabber.

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What matters more is the reasoning behind it, a fact almost entirely lost in the ongoing saga of Colin Kaepernick, whose rationale for using his response to the national anthem to gain attention to injustice is both impassioned and laudable. But symbolism and noise have clouded his message, and he waits patiently for both a fair opportunity to work and for more people to understand truly why he’s choosing to do what he does.

The Seahawks’ Michael Bennett is doing everything he can to make sure this doesn’t happen to him, as he’s also employing an anthem protest to shine a light on what is dangerously wrong with the country he loves.

“I can’t stand right now,” Bennett said on CNN. “I’m not going to be standing until I see the equality and freedom.”

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Calling Charlottesville and President Donald Trump’s lack of reaction “the tipping point,” Bennett said: “At this point, if you’re being silent, you’re being dishonest. And we can be silenced no more because we’re living in this reality where I can’t hide behind the logo on my helmet. I can’t hide behind the shield. I can’t hide behind the glamour and glitz of the NFL.”

And why not?

“There’s a reality that I’m a black man in America,” Bennett explained. “And there’s things that are going on pertaining to minorities, pertaining to women, pertaining to kids, pertaining to religion, and we can’t be hiding behind it. We’re fighting for what America is built on: That’s the freedom, the equality, the justice for all and the liberty, and those are the things that I’m actually trying to remember and honor when I sit down for the flag.”

Don’t just watch Michael Bennett. Listen to him.

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Dan Bernstein is a co-host of 670 The Score’s “Bernstein and Goff Show” in afternoon drive. You can follow him on Twitter  @dan_bernstein and read more of his columns here.