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Martellus Bennett says he wishes Tom Brady would kneel for the national anthem

Martellus Bennett, Tom Brady

Former New England Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett implored Tom Brady to kneel during the national anthem before games, saying “the conversation in the NFL would change” if the six-time Super Bowl champion showed solidarity with playing peers who protest the country’s systemic racial injustice before games.

Bennett made the remarks during a recent appearance at “Athletes + Activism,” a panel in Washington D.C. discussing the relationship between professional athletes and social activism. The 10-year NFL veteran said that if Brady, New Orleans Saints superstar Drew Brees, and other notable white quarterbacks followed the lead of Colin Kaepernick, “White America would be like, ‘Oh my God. What is this that Tom Brady’s talking about?!” suggesting that a broader subset of the population would be empathetic to the protesting players’ cause.

“All these great white heroes that they have running around, throwing the football — if they jump into the conversation, it would be projected to — it would be so much bigger,” Bennett said, per TMZ Sports.

“They would join in the conversation. It would pique their interest. But since it’s a black guy taking a knee, it’s like, ‘Alright, these guys, here he goes again. It’s another one of these guys out here doing this.’”

Bennett played the entire 2016 season with Brady and the Patriots, then appeared in two games with the team the following season after being waived by the the Green Bay Packers, due to his failure to disclose a medical condition. He retired after the 2017 season.

Brady is friends with President Donald Trump, who in 2017 called kneeling NFL players “sons of b******,” saying they should lose their jobs.