Seattle Seahawks defensive lineman Michael Bennett wants to convince more NFL players to start speaking out against social issues.
Following the team’s practice on Saturday, Bennett stood in front of reporters wearing a “Black Lives Matter” shirt and continued to stress the importance of supporting one another.
“With everything that’s going on in society right now, you just want to be a good advocate for speaking up when things are going wrong,” Bennett said. “The women and WNBA have really stood up for what they want, and I think that it’s time for the players in the NFL.”
You can watch his press conference comments here.
Bennett’s comments come in the wake of a public protest by members of the WNBA, including the Minnesota Lynx, New York Liberty, Indiana Fever and Phoenix Mercury, who wore all-black warmup shirts to speak out about the shootings of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile and the Dallas police officers in the early days of July.
In Bennett’s opinion, the superstars of the NFL have not taken on as large a role in speaking out against social injustices as athletes in other major sports have. He even went as far as to name Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton as one of the players who is not doing enough.
“The greatest players aren’t involved like LeBron James, Chris Paul and all these guys. Our great players are just sitting back and taking the dollars, whether it’s Cam Newton, all these guys are not really on the forefront of trying to change what’s going on.”
Bennett reportedly reached out and apologized to Cam Newton Sunday for the comments he made after Saturday’s practice, explaining that he did not intend to create tension between players.
“It takes a village to do something like this. It’s not going to be one player.” Bennett told ESPN. “It’s going to be a group of players. I just want to emphasize that to a lot of the players.”