Outside of perhaps Eric Reid and Colin Kaepernick, no NFL players have been more vocal on social issues and protesting during the national anthem than the Bennett brothers.
Michael and Martellus Bennett have been consistent in their protesting of the national anthem since the trend began.
Michael, formerly with the Seahawks and currently with the Eagles, has typically sat during the national anthem.
Martellus, a former Packer and Patriot who’s currently a free agent, typically raises his fist.
Both have been outspoken when it comes to numerous social issues.
They were given quite a large platform to discuss said societal issues on a recent episode of “The Bill Simmons Podcast.”
The Bennett brothers and host Simmons delved into a variety of topics, but things took a turn when the subject came up of why NBA players are seemingly so much more outspoken than NFL players on social issues.
“The reason the NBA is so driven to do everything that they’re doing is because of LeBron James. LeBron is the best player in the world, he’s the most profitable player in the world, and he speaks on every single thing. He’s the person that drives that car,” Martellus said.
That may be true, but Bennett is also missing the simple math of it all.
The percentage of NBA players broaching social and political topics is certainly higher than in the NFL, but there are far more players in the NFL. Whereas an NBA team typically has around 15 active players on the roster, an NFL team has 52. There are so many more NFL players than there are NBA players that there’s far more room for diversity in thought within the ranks of the NFL.
But mathematical oversight aside, the Bennetts ventured into odd territory when they started attacking Green Bay Packers star Aaron Rodgers and retired NFL superstar Peyton Manning.
“The NFL is not like that. The best players in the NFL aren’t the ones who are talking about concussions,” Martellus said. He then essentially called Rodgers a liar because Rodgers had defended the Green Bay medical staff after the team’s acrimonious divorce with Martellus.
Martellus went further, comparing Manning with James.
“You’ll never see Peyton Manning speak up for behalf of the black players there or his teammates. You’ll never hear Peyton say, ‘Yeah, these guys are taking a knee, I think we should really get behind them and support them because their cause that they’re talking about is very important to them and this whole group of people.’ No, they’ll just sit back and be like, ‘All right you know, whatever,'” Martellus said unprompted.
Since when is it Manning’s responsibility to specifically stand up for black teammates?
Has Manning ever explicitly stood up for his white teammates only?
Why should Manning be forced to stand up for a cause that he might not believe in?
Those are just some of the questions that the Bennett brothers never bothered to answer.
“A lot of guys at the top of the NBA will try to make it better for the other guys to come up and get a little bit more. … There are not too many guys at the top of the NFL that are reaching down to help somebody get up to the top either,” Martellus continued.
Again, why is it the responsibility of the best players to help out less-qualified players?
Contrary to what the Bennetts may believe, sports is the purest of meritocracies. Sports is not socialism.
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