Former Chicago Bears Pro Bowl tight end Martellus Bennett has never been shy about sharing his opinions on social media, and Wednesday evening, he took to Twitter to call out Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and every other white quarterback in the NFL who he feels has been tone-deaf or too quiet about racial injustices over the years.
Bennett was among many current and former players who took umbrage with Brees’ much-maligned take that players kneeling during the national anthem was more about disrespecting the flag than about protesting police brutality and racism.
Bennett also blasted his former teammate Rodgers, who he played with for part of the 2017 season, for his recent statement. Bennett played 10 years in the league, playing with the Dallas Cowboys (2008-2011) New York Giants (2012), Chicago Bears (2013-2015) New England Patriots (2016-17) and Green Bay Packers (2017). Bennett spent just seven games with the Packers, but he still formed more than a few opinions about Rodgers and the state of Wisconsin.
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Martellus Bennett: White QBs Care Too Much About Their ‘Captain America’ Images
Bennett began by calling Brees out. “You have a HOF QB in Drew talking about protesting the military when taking a knee,” Bennett tweeted. “It’s been forever long how the f–k do you still not know what your black ‘brothers’ are fighting for?” he tweeted.
In a series of tweets, he continued to call out Brees, while also noting that he was hard-pressed to think of one white quarterback who “stands for something.”
“Tell me one white QB that truly stands for something other than their captain America images,” Bennett wrote. “Not one of them spoke up when it wasn’t easy to speak up. Now they writing statements. And y’all wanna applaud them for these statements, when y’all crucified every athlete that said something by protesting in the beginning. Locking arms was always stupid. There was no risk in locking arms. It was no diff from these corporate BLM statement.”
Bennett said that in his time in the league — and he was active when Colin Kaepernick and other players began kneeling in 2016 — he did not witness any white team leaders taking an anti-racism stand when they had multiple opportunities to do just that. “When they had a chance to make a big play for their black teammates and colleagues most of em remained silent, showed ignorance or didn’t say anything of importance when it was really needed. Funny thing is that if the white guys I showered with, slept next to, s–tted next to, counted on etc etc would never speak up for me how could I ever expect the white folks I never spent any time with at all to do so,” Bennett wrote in separate tweets.
He then turned his attention to Aaron Rodgers and America’s Dairyland.
Bennett on Rodgers: He Wasn’t an Ally
Bennett tweeted the following snippet from an interview Rodgers did with ESPN’s Mina Kimes back in 2017, in which Rodgers also equated the protests with having respect for the flag:
“Rodgers tells me that while he doesn’t plan on sitting out the anthem, he believes the protests — which he describes as peaceful and respectful — are positive, mentioning that he’s had conversations with a new teammate, tight end Martellus Bennett, about the issues they represent. ‘I’m gonna stand because that’s the way I feel about the flag — but I’m also 100 percent supportive of my teammates or any fellow players who are choosing not to,’ he says. ‘They have a battle for racial equality. That’s what they’re trying to get a conversation started around.’
Bennett noted Rodgers’ frequent use of the word ‘they’ when he spoke to Kimes in reference to his black teammates, saying in a subsequent tweet: “I don’t want to see y’all paint these dudes as white saviors that were always speaking up. It’s just not true. I was there.”
Bennett also noted Rodgers knew he was looking for allies at the time, yet still refused to be one. “He saw what I went thru while protesting in Green Bay. And protesting in Wisconsin is a wild experience,” Bennett wrote.