Want an honest opinion on something? Ask Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett a question. While most NFL players—and professional athletes as a whole—are programmed to give the most cliché, PC answers possible during interviews (just look at Bennett’s teammate Russell Wilson), Bennett is liable to say just about anything when you talk to him.
Recently, Bennett sat down for an interview with Sports Illustrated, and he had a bunch of interesting takes on a range of different topics. Unfortunately, the entire Q&A isn’t online, but we’ve gone through the story and found some of his best quotes. Here are just a few of them:
On Republication Presidential candidate Ben Carson: “I’m listening to him and I’m like, What? He takes credit for a lot of things—but whatever. I don’t trust him because of the way he moves his hands. Something about his hands tells me he’s telling a lie.”
On marijuana legalization: “If you’re going to legalize cigarettes and liquor, I don’t see why marijuana shouldn’t be legalized. At the end of the day, they all do the same thing.”
On gun control: “Getting a gun should be harder than getting a mortgage.”
On NFL referees: “Referees are terrible, always been terrible. One referee told me that 98 percent of the time they make the right call. I asked him, ‘Are you God?’ He’s like, ‘No.’ Then you don’t make the right call 98 percent of the time. You make the right call 50 percent of the time. At best.”
On beards: “In the history of time, every wise man had a beard. I never saw Paul Bunyan—I know he’s fake—but Paul Bunyan was cool. He ate a stack of pancakes, had a blue cow, an ax. He had a beard. Of course, Jesus had a beard. Moses had a beard. Abraham had a beard. Malcolm X had a beard. It’s a wisdom thing.”
On the outrage some people expressed over John Boyega appearing in the new Star Wars movie: “I’m a Star Wars guy. It’s so funny: This is a make-believe world, but people are upset about the fact that [actor John Boyega, who plays a stormtrooper in the new movie] is black. People are racist, and they don’t even know why they’re racist; they’re racist in a fake world! People are mad because there might be a black James Bond, too. It’s a fake movie! If you guys can’t get over that, I don’t know…”
We could seriously go on and on and on. There are so many great quotes in the Q&A. There’s also a portion of it where Bennett discusses the marketability of NFL players. He believes that the league markets quarterbacks and wide receivers over other positions (which, OK, they do…). But Bennett also suggests that the league makes an effort to promote white players over black ones. He doesn’t come right out and say that, but you can read between the lines during this exchange:
SI: The NFL markets players other than QBs.
They choose who they want to market. It’s all about: Who’s marketable? Who has the look? A whole bunch of great players never had commercials. Think about Julius Peppers. He hasn’t had the amount of commercials or the notoriety that J.J. Watt [has].
What’s the criteria then?
I won’t say.
Who else has been ignored?
John Abraham. I mean, tons. Certain guys get love. Like Luke Kuechly. Clay Matthews.
You’re noting a pattern.
Yeah, there’s a pattern.
Bennett’s entire interview appears in the December 21 issue of SI (the one with Serena Williams on the cover) if you’re interested in checking it out. You can see some other excerpts from it—as well as some shots of Bennett dressed as a Jedi!—here.
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