Black athletes have been calling out big name white stars to step up in response to the murder of George Floyd. What they’ve received is a pathetic, insulting and appalling response from Drew Brees. As part of a backlash by many players and teammates, on a day that ended with a 23-Part Twitter shellacking by Martellus Bennett that began with Brees and ended with (correctly) concluding the the whole NFL is racist.
Judging against the Brees curve, many in media praised Aaron Rodgers for a bare minimum opposition to Brees, but judged against the moment, former teammate Martellus Bennett was not impressed with its strength of solidarity.
Today, Brees has since issued a very weak apology that is worth a separate article. Today, Rodgers and the Packers organization rebounded far better than Brees in issuing a team video that included words like “George Floyd,” “disgusted,” “systemic,” “structural reform,” “racism” and “police brutality.”
All the back and forth is enough for the most epic Twitter thread of all time by a player calling out NFL racism to get lost in the sauce. Just reposting his tweets under sports media boilerplate “Martellus Bennett Speaks Out” headlines will not do them justice.
Bennett’s response is worth at least six separate articles that indict Brees, the privilege of white QBs, white coaches, a racist sports media, and the whole damn NFL system.
Here are what those six different headlines might read:
Bennett opened his 23-Part Twitter thread with “Damn y’all thought Drew would say something different than what he did.”
Guilty as charged. After George Floyd and four more years of “bodies in the street” and cops “getting away with murder,” my naïve white self thought Drew Brees would formulate a much better response. Bennett had at least four tweets blasting Brees for furthering tired, false narratives about the military and somehow “still not know what your black brothers are fighting for.”
The money tweet
“You get in front of millions on your platform and give a ignorant statement fucking 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.”
Wow, if you didn’t catch that metaphor, Drew Brees is a figurative Derek Chauvin in this scenario.
Bennett had another four tweets on the silence of all white NFL quarterbacks, the most influential position in sports. He asks in his second tweet: “Tell me one white QB that truly stands for something other than their captain America images.”
The money tweet 
“Black QB have to do every fucking thing right, baker mayfield and his white privilege allows him to do whatever he wants. “This kid has so much swagger” no the fuck he doesn’t. If a black QB did any of that and lost the narrative wouldn’t be swagger it be unfocused, not serious.”
Black QBs simply do not have Baker Mayfield’s privileges on multiple levels, from personality, to the ability to fail and not be benched. Bennett later adds, “because of racism just look at how they talk about Lamar.”
That would be Lamar Jackson, who was somehow picked last in the first round after Josh Rosen, Josh Allen, Sam Darnold, and Baker, who was the No. 1 overall pick. If Colts former six-time executive of the year Bill Polian had his way, Jackson would have never been NFL MVP last year. In Polian’s infinite wisdom, Jackson would have been moved to wide receiver like scores of dual-threat black quarterbacks before him.
Bennett had at least three tweets on white silence by white players “who showed ignorance” or “blew their chance to make a big play for their black teammates”
Tweet No. 6 was truly the saddest of all:
“Funny thing is that if the white guys I showered with, slept next to, shitted 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.”
Let’s sit on this tweet white readers.
The betrayal of white-player silence has impacted Bennett’s trust of all white people, and honestly, I don’t see how anyone can blame him. It’s so sad because white players are figuratively taking the same non-intervention stance as the three other officers who let Derek Chauvin murder George Floyd.
Bennett also had a couple of tweets that took on sports media’s complicit role. He didn’t mince words:
“Sports media folks play a roll in the framing of negative narratives around black players too. A lot of you muthafuckas are racist as well.”
This author might go further than the charge of “framing negative narratives around black players.” It is actually sports media’s most profitable business model itself.
“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 diff from these corporate BLM statement. (’
Most of corporate media is essentially an arm of the NFL, whether it be acorporate partner like ESPN, or local writers exchanging local team access for favorable coverage.
But perhaps there is no better example of sports media’s NFL-Water-Carrying Fuckery than Sports Illustrated’s absurd protest cover that somehow had Roger Goodell and an NFL owner making the cut, but not Colin Kaepernick or Eric Reid. “The Onion” can do a better job. In fact, The Onion has been so on point with its satire, comparing it to S.I. is an insult.
On Tuesday, Bears coach Vic Fangio actually said this about the NFL:
“We’re a league of meritocracy. You earn what you get, you get what you earn. I don’t see racism at all in the NFL, I don’t see discrimination in the NFL”
Bennett wasn’t having it. In two combined tweets Bennett responded:
“Fangio saying that there’s no racism in the league is like sitting on an elephant and telling me it’s a horse. And Fangio, of course the league has racism because there are racist players, coaches, owners, GM’s, trainers, executives in it. So cut the bull shit. How are you leading black men that feel that racism every day when you telling them it doesn’t exist. GTFOH”
It’s a good question. How can Fangio or any white coach be a leader of black men without having an iota of a clue about the racism they face on the field and off. After getting blasted by players, Fangio has since backtracked, but whatever. He actually meant those words. Fangio is unqualified to lead black men.
But Bennett went deeper with it.
“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 im hard on because I love you like you’re my own son as an excuse...”
NFL coaches’ patronizing “white daddy syndrome,” a narrative loved by coaches, adored by white sports writers, is a whole other article unto itself. But what’s important here is the reason Fangio can actually believe NFL racism doesn’t exist is because black players have to pretend it doesn’t and suck up to him to keep their jobs.
Fangio nicely sets up Bennet’s last headline:
Bennett indicts the entire NFL: https://twitter.com/MartysaurusRex/status/1268347890235092992
“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.”
Bennett adds, “You [can’t] tell me Joe Judge is more primed and ready to lead a team to championship than Eric Bieniemy,”
No, I can’t. No one can. And I can’t tell you that Matt Patricia, 9-22-1 with the Lions, is more qualified than the man he was fired for, Jim Caldwell, who went 9-7 the previous two seasons. After firing Caldwell, Lions General Manager Bob Quinn said “nine wins are not enough.” Now Patricia will begin his third season.
What do Quinn, Patricia, and Joe Judge have in common? They all once worked in the Patriots organization, and stood next to Bill Belichick at one time. There are several white privilege pipelines in the NFL, and Bennett’s racial analysis is not just aimed at racist individuals, but an economic system that views black men as disposable once they can no longer run fast.
“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. We need more black coaches leading men… You can play for our team but you can’t lead our teams.”
Bennett says the racism starts with the NFL owners. “You already know how the white owners who hire coaches feel about black players. It’s the same way they feel about black coaches.”
At the end of the day, black players as living breathing humans are nearly as disposable to the NFL as George Floyd is to the Minneapolis Police Department.
And Martellus Bennett just explained how.
It would be nice for it to come from someone white.