I realize that it’s still the off-season, but there’s a very good reason to stock up on those Michael Bennett jerseys right now.
Bennett, a defensive end for the Seattle Seahawks, just announced that he will donate all his endorsement money this year to groups promoting social change, specifically focusing on women of color and rebuilding underrepresented communities. He cited Chance The Rapper’s recent $1 million donation to Chicago Public Schools as the inspiration behind his decision.
And yes, he's related to Martellus Bennett, the Patriots player who was among the first to say "thanks, but no thanks" to the post-Superbowl White House trip this year.
Bleacher Report’s Doug Farrar tweeted out Bennett’s press release.
From Bennett’s letter:
The system is failing our kids, and it will be up to the community and our leaders to help keep the hope alive by focusing on improving our education system and the future of our kids. Any company that decides to invest in me, just know that you’ll be investing in opportunities and providing inspiration for these families—many who feel unnoticed or go unmentioned.
I have decided to donate all of my endorsement money in 2017 to help rebuild minority communities through S.T.E.A.M. programs, as well as initiatives that directly affect women of color in hopes that we can create more opportunities for our youth and build a brighter future.
In addition, 50% of the proceeds from my jersey sales this year will go to programs and initiatives to support inner-city garden projects, as it’s not only about providing opportunities in education and arts, but to help provide the right nutrition and access to healthy living to all.
S.T.E.A.M. refers to Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math education. More specifically, this kind of education uses these subjects as entry points into critical thinking and social awareness. Through the Bennett Foundation, he has already been fighting childhood obesity and helping underprivileged children.
Bennett finishes his letter with a call to action for fellow athletes to follow his example.
I’m asking all professional athletes to join me by donating a portion of your endorsements this year to a cause of your choice. We can make a difference. It up to us to help plant the seeds of hope and fuel the future.
Power to the people, Michael Bennett
Just yesterday, Bennett penned an article for The Player’s Tribune supporting the Women’s Strike on International Women’s Day. And just last month, he canceled a trip to Israel after seeing “so many similarities between the Black Lives movement and the Palestinian movement.”
Oh, and apparently ANGELA FREAKING DAVIS is a big fan:
Finally, if you had any lingering doubt on Bennett’s woke bonafides, please find our closing argument below: