(CNN)Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Michael Bennett has started standing for the National Anthem again after almost four years -- but he insists it's not because of a rumored deal with team owner Jerry Jones.
Michael Bennett says he's standing for the National Anthem because his Cowboys teammates asked him to
Bennett, 33, stood for the anthem at the Cowboys' past two games. But he denies his mid-season trade from the New England Patriots involved any conversation with Jones regarding his standing for the anthem, despite what many are saying.
"I feel at this point in my career if my teammates asked me to do something and I can do it," Bennett told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "I know people want make it what it what they want to. I don't know what to tell them."
Bennett told CNN in 2017 he would not stand for the anthem until he saw "equality and freedom" as he took a stance against police brutality and injustice. He hadn't stood for the anthem since 2016 when he played for the Seattle Seahawks.
Bennett said he is doing it for the team, but it doesn't mean he'll stop fighting for social justice and equality for people of color.
"I am a black man," Bennett said.
"I have always said that. I have always stood on what I have believed in every single situation whether it's with Donald Trump, whether it was with the police, whether it was with police brutality, how women of color have been treated, how much money I have donated to different things, the causes I have stood up with, the people I have stood with."
After his trade to the Cowboys, Bennett's contract was changed, removing his final year of the deal. This may be his last year with the NFL.
In 2018, the three-time Pro Bowl defensive end published "Things That Make White People Uncomfortable," a book in which he discussed racism, police brutality and the role black athletes play as political activists.