Martellus Bennett Only Patriot Speaking Up Against Trump, Not “Sticking to Sports”

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New England Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett is as colorful a character as any in the NFL. He’s also among the most courageous and socially active. It’s hard to root against anyone with both that much personality and admirable qualities.

As Nancy Armour of USA Today reported, the point of Media Day sessions are to talk without ever saying anything. To meet the press, and give them very little, if any, soundbites of actual news value. For Super Bowl Media week, those “goals” are magnified. It gets kicked up a notch when you have the Patriots in the bowl, because “The Patriot Way” is to always speak to all media members in worthless coachspeak cliches and meaningless Bradyspeak platitudes.

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Bennett is having none of that, and we need to applaud for him doing so. Patriots Owner Robert Kraft is a close friend of President Donald Trump and was an inauguration attendee. Head Coach Bill Belichick penned an admiration letter to Trump during the Presidential campaign, and clearly supports the extremely unpopular POTUS.

Brady previously sported a “Make America Great Again” hat in his locker and has spoken of his long-running friendship with Trump in the past.

After Trump announced his candidacy, Brady said it would be great if Trump won, but this week Brady made it clear he’s not talking politics at all this week.

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Brady’s actions are hypocritical at best, cowardly at worst.

Martellus Bennett is the polar opposite. He’s breaking ranks; he may not attend the White House visit down the line, should the Pats win tomorrow.

“I don’t know. I’ve got to win the Super Bowl first, but most likely no,” Bennett said, per Dave Birkett of The Detroit Free Press. “I don’t – that’s not – I don’t support the guy that’s in the house.”

“Other players are worried about their personal brand,” Bennett said.

“I feel like a lot of players throughout every situation, I mean, they have chances to really impact the community with things that they say. So many people are looking for encouragement, for examples, for a chance to promote change.”

“But for a lot of guys, it comes down to the dollar — what this brand or what this company may say, or how I’m going to look if I speak out. And sometimes, a lot of guys just aren’t educated enough to do it. They really don’t know the subject.”

“So, it varies, but I think the biggest thing is stepping out on that plank, because they feel like they feel like they will get crucified if they do speak up on different topics.” (transcript via CBS Boston)

Bennett said that he considers his chances to speak to large audiences to be a real opportunity to effect change. He uses all platforms to do so, including Twitter.

“I’m not going to pass that up. You know, if I have a chance to change the world, I’m going to do everything I can to change the world,” Martellus Bennett said.

“And for me, like, everyone has a different contribution. For me, I feel like it’s laughter. So I try to tell as many jokes as possible and make as many people laugh as possible, or write stories that’s funny. I write stories — creativity is my gift. I try to give back to the world. Like, that’s one of my good charms.”

“So I think when you have a chance to impact the world, you go for it. No matter what anyone says, what anyone thinks about you personally, if you believe in something and you truly have morals and standards for yourself and your own ethic code.”

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Green Bay Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings appeared on a FOX talking head show during Super Bowl Media Week, and here’s what he had to say on Martellus Bennett reporting that players’ ‘brands’ cause them to avoid political issues:

“As a player, you’re advised to not talk about politics. We want everyone to like me. If I take a stance, I cut off half the people who could support me as I move forward and support my brand. That’s what he’s referring to. If it’s unpopular, you stay away from it.”

Both Brady and Kraft did the “I’m sticking to sports,” bit this week. Brady did so in a polished manner while Kraft did so in an extremely condescending manner.

Said Kraft:

“You know, here’s a piece of advice to all of you, because life is hard sometimes. When you have great things — I told [Falcons owner] Arthur Blank this, he told me ‘Give me some advice.’ I said, ‘Don’t let anyone ruin these two weeks. Because there will be a lot of things coming on and pressure and anyone who’s piercing the bubble of happiness, get ‘em out of here.’

Chicago Bear TE Martellus Bennett

Here’s the rub though- “stick to sports is dead,” and it’s not coming back. Mourn not however, because it never really existed in the first place. “Stick to sports” just means “stick to sports only when you say something that doesn’t gel with me politically.”

The NBA is way ahead of the curve on this. League owners, coaches, players and more have all been speaking up on issues of police brutality, homophobia, the Muslim ban, bigotry, racism, xenophobia, sexism and all the other awful -isms that are proliferating in Trump’s America.

Several key members of the United States Men’s National Soccer Team are speaking out too.

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As for the NFL, they’re way behind, as they’re an extremely arch-conservative corporation. Applaud Martellus Bennett for standing up what he believes in, and bucking the trend.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, partnered with FOX Sports Engage Network. and News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times and Bold, contributes regularly to the Chicago Tribune’s RedEye publication, CGTN America, WGN CLTV News and KOZN

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  1. […] Bennett is one of the most socially actively and publicly courageous NFL-related figures. This was never more evident than when he spoke out against Trump, and a potential visit to the White House when he was with the New E…. […]

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