by G. Brown
In 2017, everything is political it seems—even the Super Bowl. Celebs banking on the Atlanta Falcons to walk away the winner felt the agony of defeat so deeply that many compared the loss to the same feeling after Trump won the White House. Like the election, just when it looked like the Falcons had this one in the bag, the Patriots made a comeback that defied predictions and won the game 34-28 in overtime.
The New England Patriots earned the trophy for Super Bowl 51 and tradition means they earned a visit to the White House. But don’t look for Patriot’s tight end Martellus Bennett to join his team mates. Bennett told media after the game he plans to skip the White House visit. Bennett said, “I am not going to go. I can elaborate later on in life; right now I am just trying to enjoy this … People know how I feel about it, just follow me on Twitter.” If you do follow Bennett on Twitter, then his outspoken stance is no surprise. Bennett defiantly joined fellow NFL’er Colin Kaepernick’s protest of the national anthem. And when Kanye West met with then president-elect Donald Trump, Bennett didn’t bite his tongue tweeting…
So Bennett is staying true to himself and following thru on his beliefs by declining the White House visit. And for that, he’s being slammed with a lot racist comments…
But Bennett is doing the exact same thing his team mate and ardent Trump supporter Tom Brady did a year earlier. In 2015, Brady declined a visit to the White House while Barack Obama was still President. Though Brady didn’t really give a reason he only said that he had a previously planned family commitment. But on the day of the actual White House visit, Brady was said to be at the stadium doing stretching exercises. Many speculated it was because the QB didn’t support the nation’s first Black President. So if Brady could skip out on a White House visit, why can’t Bennett make the same choice a year later? Brady didn’t even have the guts to really say why he didn’t join the team and visit President Obama, but Bennett is being totally honest about why he is declining.
Bennett commented that Trump has been too divisive a person and even in his protest, that statement holds true. What should be Bennett’s right to sit out in protest has turned into a racist, divisive clash with pro-Trumpers trying to belittle the Super Bowl Champion with epithets that seem to be the underlying mantra of this administration. There’s no longer any neutral ground, it’s either you support Trump or White supremacists will try to discredit, berate and destroy you in a war of words.
Bennett expected the backlash and said he really wasn’t worried about it. Some are saying that Bennett’s choice could be a career ending move especially if the New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft (also a Trump supporter) takes offense. But Bennett doesn’t seem ruffled by the speculation saying that politics is not a part of their locker room, “You just don’t bring that to work. We all have our beliefs. We accept people for who they are.”
Bennett has made his choice and it’s doubtful a few cowardly posts by supremacists too afraid to use their real names will bully him into changing his mind.
What do you think…is Bennett wrong for using the Super Bowl Champion spotlight to speak up on his political views? Or does this whole situation show the double standard once again where Whites can get away with “un-American” behavior but Blacks can’t?