Super Bowl champion Martellus Bennett of the New England Patriots and former Pro Bowl selection has called upon white athletes to kneel for the National Anthem just like Colin Kaepernick.
According to Fox News, Bennett issued his call to “great white heroes” while speaking at an Athletes + Activism forum hosted by The Atlantic columnist Jemele Hill, the former ESPN commentator who famously called President Trump a “white supremacist.” Bennet believes if white super athletes like Tom Brady, Peyton Manning (now retired) and Drew Brees supported the anthem kneelers, the movement would get the recognition it deserves.
“If Peyton Manning joined the conversation, the conversation in the NFL would change,” Bennett said. “If Drew Brees came in and really joined the conversation, it would change. Tom Brady. All these great white heroes that they have running around, throwing the football — if they jump into the conversation, it would be so much bigger.”
If these players joined the cause, Bennett said, white Americans would listen to the kneelers and their quest to raise awareness about police brutality and other racial injustices.
“If they were to take a knee with Colin Kaepernick, that conversation would totally change,” Bennett said. “If Tom Brady took a knee, white America would be like, ‘Oh my God. What is this that Tom Brady’s talking about?’”
The NFL star added that people largely ignore the anthem kneelers because black people make up the majority.
“They would start doing research and would join in the conversation,” he said. “It would pique their interest. But since it’s a black guy taking a knee, it’s like, ‘Alright, these guys, here he goes again. It’s another one of these guys out here doing this.’”
Bennett’s complaint that Americans ignore the anthem kneelers echoes the same sentiments expressed by NFL defensive end Robert Quinn of the Miami Dolphins, who said in December of last year that the media ignored him every time he raised his fist during the “Star Spangled Banner.”
“Y’all ignore it,” Quinn said last year. “Because when I gave my first message on trying to bring unity, y’all swept it under the rug. It’s not me. When you don’t give a problematic story, y’all just ran away.”
The anthem protest sparked by Colin Kaepernick in 2016 eventually erupted into a firestorm of national controversy when President Donald Trump entered the debate by saying NFL should fire those “son of a b*tch” players who kneel during the National Anthem. Even Tom Brady, a noted Trump supporter, expressed support for his teammates at the time.
“I think everyone has the right to do whatever they want to do. If you don’t agree, that is fine. You can voice your disagreement, I think that is great. It’s part of our democracy. As long as it is done in a peaceful, respectful way, that is what our country has been all about,” Brady said during a radio show appearance