Seahawks’ Michael Bennett doesn’t want to be told to ‘stick to football’
Michael Bennett is nearly as well known for his humorous nature as he is for being one of the best defensive linemen in the NFL. But he’s got a serious side to him, as well.
The outspoken Seahawks defensive end joined Brock Huard and guest co-host Gee Scott on 710 ESPN Seattle Friday, and when the subject turned to athletes making political statements, Bennett didn’t shy away.
Bennett has been active on social media in recent weeks following the deaths of Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota by police officers, which prompted protests by Black Lives Matter groups around America. Scott noted to Bennett that his posts had received plenty of comments telling him to “stick to football” then asked what message that sends to him.
“When people tell me to stick to football and don’t speak on things that are going on, they’re basically telling me … don’t be black. That’s not your problem. You’re not a part of that black community, you’re a part of the other black community – the NBA black community, the NFL black community. You know, the get-to-have-it-all black community. So forget about the other black community,” Bennett said.
Bennett hasn’t been the only star athlete to speak up lately, with NBA players Carmelo Anthony and Dwayne Wade being among the more notable. But he warned that by adding their voice to the cause, there’s a greater responsibility they need to own up to, and that it’s all too common for sports figures to fall short in that aspect.
“I’ve been saying that for years, (that athletes need to be) speaking up on things and doing things like that. You know, those guys have a way bigger voice, but they tend to forget, too, when you say things like that, that means you can’t do the McDonald’s commercial anymore. You can’t do Pepsi. That means you start losing money,” said Bennett, who is a vocal advocate for teaching kids the value of proper nutrition. “Once you start saying stuff like that, you truly gotta follow through on that. … Not only doing social events and having things that go on socially with gun violence, police. It’s also dealing with everything. When you show a kid that you eat McDonald’s before a game, that’s a sense of vulnerability for the kid because they tend to believe that. So it’s a whole ‘nother level that we’re stepping up too.”
You can hear the full interview with Bennett at this link.