The NFL's reaction to the killing of George Floyd and its aftermath has run the gamut, from widespread statements of support and financial donations from teams and players to the widely panned remarks of New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees and Denver Broncos coach Vic Fangio, the latter clumsily suggesting the league doesn't have a racism problem. Both men later apologized.
Martellus Bennett, a tight end who played 10 years in the league before retiring following the 2017 season, is known for his outspoken persona and took to social media to express criticism – some of it profane – of Fangio, Brees, the commitment white quarterbacks have to battling social injustice while underscoring the NFL's ongoing trend for failing to hire minority head coaches.
Bennett also went after reporters, many of whom he believes are also racist.
Damn y’all thought Drew would say something different than what he did? 😂😂😂
"Damn y’all thought Drew would say something different than what he did?" Bennett wrote to begin his tirade.
"Tell me one white QB that truly stands for something other than their captain America images…. Not one of them spoke up when it wasn’t easy to speak up. Now they 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 diff from these corporate BLM statement. 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.
Former NFL TE Martellus Bennett played half of his final season with the Packers in 2017. (Photo: Dan Powers, The Post-Crescent via USA TODAY Sports)
"But now that there’s a safety net everyone wants to speak up. I hear it but I wanna see it."
He also said a double standard remains as it pertains to treatment of white and black quarterbacks, writing: "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."
He saved especially pointed remarks for Brees.
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"Let’s not being ignorant. You have a HOF QB in Drew 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?" he tweeted.
"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."
Bennett countered Fangio's remarks by saying the league is indeed racist.
And 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 saying that there’s no racism in the league is like sitting on an elephant and telling me it’s a horse," wrote Bennett.
"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…
"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.
"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. Gtfoh.
"We need more black coaches leading black men. And the league [has] 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."
He noted in a separate tweet that different standards also appear to exist for coaches given the Arizona Cardinals fired Steve Wilks, who is black, after one season in order to hire Kliff Kingsbury, who is white.
Arizona cardinals 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?
Bennett played almost exclusively with top-tier quarterbacks, a list that includes Tony Romo, Eli Manning, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers.
Rodgers criticized Brees' remarks on social media Wednesday, but Bennett was less than impressed while relaying his experience teaming with the two-time MVP in Green Bay.
Aaron Rodgers “THEY have a battle for racial equality. That’s what THEY’RE trying to get a conversation started around.” Doesn’t sound like an ally sounds like a spectator. pic.twitter.com/kZQNyEkWMY
"I don’t want to see y’all paint these dudes as white saviors that were always speaking up. It’s just not true. I was there," Bennett tweeted.
"He saw what I went thru while protesting in Green Bay. And protesting in Wisconsin is a wild experience."
Follow USA TODAY Sports' Nate Davis on Twitter @ByNateDavis
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