GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Martellus Bennett not only supports his brother, Michael, plus Colin Kaepernick and others who have protested during the national anthem, but the Green Bay Packers tight end believes athletes should use their platform to speak out on social issues.
To that end, he clearly disagrees with former Packers tight end Jermichael Finley.
Finley, who knows Bennett well from their days of playing AAU basketball together in Texas, said he didn’t agree with Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett’s decision to sit during the national anthem before last weekend’s preseason game.
In a since-deleted tweet, Finley wrote: "Athletes are looked up to & serve as roll [sic] models, leave personal opinions about race and politics alone. Do what you get paid to do & play!"
Martellus Bennett, who called his brother "awesome" for taking a stand, took issue with Finley's stance.
"He says that we should be role models, but what role is he modeling?" Bennett said. "It's like saying, you're a doctor, you have no opinion; you're a teacher, you have no opinion, who gives a s---? You're a truck driver, we don't care what you've got to say. Or you're a reporter, why the f--- are you writing, why are you writing something about politics, you should stick to sports. It makes no sense. I don't know what his intentions were, but I think there's a lot of bad information -- a lot of guys have been programmed for so long that we have to reprogram the youth so that they can think differently.
"My impact is more about the future. I worry about the country and the world and the safety that we're in -- not so much for myself, because I feel like I'm already f---ed -- but more for my daughter and my kids. I want to better the future for her so she won't have to go through what we're going through. There's a lot of stuff that's repeating itself that shouldn't. It's 2017, I shouldn't have to worry about guys in lynch mobs and s--- in Virginia. I should be driving a f---ing flying car right now, you know what I'm saying?"
Bennett said he hasn’t spoken to his brother since his anthem protest.
“I support him. I support his movement. I support Colin Kaepernick. I support all the guys, Angela Davis, all the people that came before us to pave the way for what we’re trying to do in the black community,” Bennett said. “I support everybody and always will. I always will be very pro-black, I guess would be the term to say.”