NFL

Former Patriot Martellus Bennett discussed the racism he’s seen in the NFL

"Not one of them spoke up when it wasn’t easy to speak up."

Martellus Bennett Patriots Packers
Martellus Bennett in 2017. Justin Edmonds / Getty Images

Related Links

In the wake of Wednesday’s comments from Drew Brees, retired tight end Martellus Bennett — who spent 10 seasons in the NFL, including a year-plus with the Patriots — discussed the league’s racial dynamics Wednesday night in a series of tweets.

Here’s a look at his statement:

“Damn y’all thought Drew would say something different than what he did?” he asked. “Tell me one white [quarterback] that truly stands for something other than their [C]aptain America images. Not one of them spoke up when it wasn’t easy to speak up.

“Now [they’re] 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 [different] from these corporate BLM statement[s].

“Look [I’m] happy they’re saying something … but 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, [expletive] 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. But now that there’s a safety net everyone wants to speak up. I hear it but I wanna see it.

And [Vic Fangio] saying that there’s no racism in the league is like sitting on an elephant and telling me it’s a horse. All these coaches with white daddy syndrome in the league and football period talking down to black players in a way they would never do to a white player know it’s wrong then want to turn around and tell em [I]m hard on because I love you like you’re my own son as an excuse…

“The nfl is racist. The main reason they don’t have black coaches is because of racism not because they aren’t ‘qualified.’ You already know how the white owners who hire coaches feel about black players. It’s the same way they feel about black coaches. The difference is that they need the black players to make the league work they don’t need the black coaches in order for it to work. You can tell me Joe Judge is more primed and ready to lead a team to championship than Eric Bieniemy.

“Sports media folks play a roll in the framing of negative narratives around black players too. A lot of you [expletives] are racist as well. Black QB have to do every [expletive] thing right, Baker Mayfield and his white privilege allows him to do whatever he wants. ‘This kid has so much swagger.’ No the [expletive] he doesn’t. If a black QB did any of that and lost the narrative wouldn’t be swagger it be unfocused, not serious.

“And Fangio of course the league has racism because there are racist players, coaches, owners, GMs, trainers, executives in it. So cut the [expletive]. How are you leading black men that feel that racism everyday when you telling em it doesn’t exist.

“Let’s not being ignorant. You have a HOF QB in Drew (Brees) talking about protesting the military when taking a knee. It’s been forever long how the [expletive] do you still not know what your black ‘brothers’ are fighting for? You get in front of millions on your platform and give a ignorant statement [expletive] up the message dudes have lost their jobs fighting for. You and your friends need to take your knees off of the necks of your black teammates and stand for something. Because spreading the false narrative of protesting the military and [expletive] is exactly what you are doing. Get informed. Read a [expletive] book.

“Someone black will know if you’re racist before you probably do. Protect these black boys when you allow them the play these sports. The coaches, owners, leaders at all levels will brainwash them to believe that it’s all they need to be and focus on. When you sign those waivers you’re signing over their identities.

“So do your research on what these coaches are saying and instilling in these kids. And coaches stop with the if you have other interest you don’t love the sport you’re playing narrative. That other interest could be [there] forever because you know the sport isn’t. Because the way it is set up throughout the entire system is that the only place they truly have in the league is as a player. The forever jobs in the league are dominated by white people starting with the QB position. Because of racism just look at how they talked about [Lamar Jackson].

“We need more black coaches leading black men. And the league as stopped many players from experiencing that with blatant racism and prejudice when hiring coaches. You can play for our team but you can’t lead our teams.”

Later, Bennett briefly added to his statement.

“Peyton [M]anning threw 28 interceptions in 98, Eli [Manning] 27 in 2013. Jameis Winston threw 30 in 19 and led the league in passing. But look at the narratives around them at the time.

“Arizona [C]ardinals couldn’t wait to fire Steve Wills to hire an up and coming white boy. While Matt Patricia gets another chance after sucking for 2 years. Why?

“That’s all I gotta say… for now.”

Jump To Comments

Conversation

This discussion has ended. Please join elsewhere on Boston.com