Seattle Seahawks defensive lineman Michael Bennett is great for the NFL, period. The league could use more players with his social conscious and outspoken personality.
Bennett recently called for more players to speak out against intolerance and injustice. The Seahawks defensive lineman said it would take a white player protesting and speaking out to really elevate the conversation. However, players are afraid to speak out because they might get blackballed like ex-49ers QB Colin Kaepernick.
Although white players like Chris Long have supported the protests of Kaepernick and others, one has yet to really take a stance like Bennett. Props to him for telling it like it is.
As a matter of fact, Bennett is working on a book that will literally make white people uncomfortable. It won’t be in bad taste though. These comments and conversations Bennett involves himself in are already making plenty of people uncomfortable because they’re difficult conversations to have. Sometimes it is easier to pretend like we live in a world that doesn’t see color or difference but Bennett tells it like it is.
Still, Bennett’s whole move is about caring about people. In the same Sportscenter interview, Bennett said he wants people to know that humans are all together regardless of religion or color. He wants people to remember the freedom and liberty via his protests.
It shouldn’t be taken for granted what Bennett is doing. He’s the son of military veterans. It can’t be easy for him to stand for the National Anthem. He said he understands what the service and flag means to the country. Bennett is honoring that legacy by taking a stand against injustice.
This is enough that at least one group of servicemen is standing besides him. Some elite JBLM soldiers visited Seahawks practice after Bennett’s protest. They admitted that they were not offended and that they fight so Americans can preserve their rights for freedom of speech and peaceful protest.
Moreover, Bennett isn’t just talking about activism. He is living it through philanthropy. Per his foundation’s website, they’ve partnered with more than 40 different community organizations and spent more than $240,000 on educational programs designed to combat childhood obesity in Washington and Hawaii, where Bennett lives in the offseason with his wife Pele and three daughters. Also, Bennett announced he would donate all of his 2017 endorsement money and half the money earned from his jersey sales to organizations in minority communities.
At a time where our own President struggles to take a stance against domestic tourism and race hate in Charlottesville, it is refeshing to hear Bennett take a stance against injustice everywhere. The Pro Bowl defensive lineman has everything to lose in the court of public opinion. He might also get blackballed by the hegemonic, owners of the NFL.
However, the NFL needs more players like Bennett who are willing to use their platform to spread love. The NFL needs more players willing to take a stance against injustice. They need more role models helping in the community, considering we hear more about domestic violence incidents than philanthropy from players.
Either way, the NFL is better because of Michael Bennett and his stance against injustice.
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