Former Chicago Bears and New England Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett is was and always has been a multi-layered individual. Before, during and after his pro football career, Martysaurus Rex had been a Renaissance man; interested in many things.
He’s in to drawing, illustrating, fighting for social justice and he’s being doing some promotions too. Bennett was recently at a tailgate in College Station, TX (his alma mater is Texas A&M) working with a beer company on a promotion involving picking who will make the College Football Playoff rankings.
It was a very fun, interactive fan event that kind of served as a college football version of making NFL predictions against the spread. And it was exciting for Marty, because he is not the kind of star athlete who typically does a lot of campaigns for different brands. “I don’t have endorsements,” he said during our exclusive conversation.
“I never did during my career, but I think we’re getting to a point now where brands can no longer straddle the fence, so I think it’s going to help guys who stand for things if they team up with the right brands.”
“Now brands have to show their cards. There’s also a lot of brands for social change,” the founder of the Imagination Agency said before giving an example- an ice cream company staying true to their hippy image and values.
“The other day on 4-20 Ben & Jerry’s tweeted out this story about the marijuana business and expunging records for people who have been in prisons for marijuana. Ben & Jerry’s said that, so it’s pretty cool.”
We caught up to Marty when he was in town to do a public reading of his children’s book. We asked him if he believes more more football players will eventually speak out on the issues of the day while still active in their playing careers.
“No, that fear is still there,” he answered.
“It’s always going to be there- some guys feel they’re not at a level in their career where they can speak out, they don’t want to lose their job.”
“Some guys got to think about someone more than themselves, because for some guys this is the only way they can make money.”
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 England Patriots at Super Bowl Media Day 2017.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly appears on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation.