Patriots

Michael Bennett says he's informed Patriots he'll remain in locker room during anthem

Michael Bennett says he's informed Patriots he'll remain in locker room during anthem

Michael Bennett has never had an issue with saying what's on his mind. And just because he's about to become a member of the Patriots doesn't mean that's going to change. 

The 33-year-old defensive end spoke at Princeton University for a Sports, Race and Society lecture on Monday, addressing what he plans to do during the playing of the anthem before games next season, and saying that he plans to discuss Donald Trump's presidency with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. 

According to William C. Rhoden, writing for ESPN, Bennett indicated that he was looking forward to having conversations with the coach and quarterback about Trump.

"I think it's important not to to run away from those conversations," Bennett said, per ESPN, "or not hear their ideas about why they think the way they do."

He added, "I think it's an opportunity for growth to have those conversations. If we don't allow ourselves to have those conversations, we're stunting our growth."

In 2016, during Trump's presidential campaign, Belichick sent Trump a letter that Trump read to a crowd in Manchester, New Hampshire. The year prior, a "Make America Great Again" hat was spotted in Brady's locker, which Brady explained to WEEI was a gift from Trump via Patriots owner Robert Kraft.

The Patriots quarterback criticized Trump in September of 2017, though, when Trump said, "Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!' "

“Yeah, I certainly disagree with what he said," Brady told WEEI at the time. "I thought it was just divisive. Like I said, I just want to support my teammates."

Bennett said during his Princeton appearance that he's spoken with the Patriots about his plans to stay in the locker room during the anthem moving forward.

"I explained to them is that my integrity mean everything," Bennett said, per ESPN. "I think they respect that about me, they respect who I am as an individual."

A number of players across the league, specifically those involved with the Players Coalition, have been open about the fact that they would like to steer attention away from anthem protests and toward making meaningful change for communities that need it.

"If you listen to what players are saying all along, you know, taking a knee was a protest to get people to understand what we were trying to do," McCourty said last summer prior to moderating a panel in Dorchester focused on criminal justice reform. "This is what we were trying to do. We're trying to make changes to the community . . . That has been our focus all along."

The Patriots have a deal in place with the Eagles to acquire Bennett in a trade that will be made official at the start of the new league year on Wednesday. New England will send Philadelphia a 2020 fifth-round pick in exchange for Bennett and a seventh.

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On Instagram, Martellus Bennett writes he won't be coming back to Patriots

On Instagram, Martellus Bennett writes he won't be coming back to Patriots

They'll be no Bennett brother reunion, or a third stint with the Patriots for Martellus Bennett, according to his Instagram post.

View this post on Instagram

Swipe. This is why I can’t come out of retirement. I would love to play ball with my brother it would truly be a dream come true. But my biggest dream is to change lives with my creativity and that is what I am currently doing @theimaginationagency these kids don’t need another athlete to look up to or to aspire to be there’s plenty of inspiration out there for that. I want to inspire the next wave of creatives. The storytellers. The engineers. The designers. The doctors. The filmmakers. The composers. Tech moguls. And maybe a few athletes who like me never felt like they belonged in a locker room. I was never one of the guys guys most of my teammates would tell that. I’ve always been a creative who enjoyed competing. I’m playing the game that I was made to play and it’s the most fun I’ve ever had. Scoring touchdowns winning a super bowl has never made me feel the way seeing kids/families/people enjoying things I have created. I’m doing my life’s work fulfilling what I believe to be my life’s purpose. I hope everyone finds something that makes them as happy and as fulfilled as I have with my work @theimaginationagency I appreciate all of the love but this is waaaaayyy bigger than the game of football. Get your copy today. Link in my bio

A post shared by Martellus Bennett (@martellusb) on

Bennett's brother Michael, 33, a defensive end, was traded from from the Eagles to the Patriots on March 8, leading to plenty of speculation that Martellus, 32, a tight end, who played a full season for the Pats in 2016 and last played in the NFL in two games for the Pats in 2017, would come out of retirement to join him in New England.

Marty B even got a pitch to return from his old quarterback in New England. 

Martellus Bennett has forged a new career with his Imagination Agency and he recently released his book "Dear Black Boy" which seeks to inspire African-American kids in outlets beyond athletics.

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Patriots QB Tom Brady is highest-ranked NFL player on ESPN's 'World Fame 100' list

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USA TODAY Sports

Patriots QB Tom Brady is highest-ranked NFL player on ESPN's 'World Fame 100' list

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is among the most recognizable and popular athletes in sports, but where does he rank when compared to other famous athletes?

ESPN's recently unveiled its 2019 "World Fame 100" ranking that uses social media followers, endorsement dollars and search score to compile a list of the world's most popular athletes.

Brady is the highest ranked NFL player on the list at No. 31, good for a seven-spot increase from 2018.

You might be a bit surprised that a legendary player like Brady, who just won his sixth Super Bowl championship last month, wouldn't even crack the top 25. One thing holding him back is the popularity of football outside of the United States. The sport doesn't have the same global appeal as basketball or soccer do.

One area Brady doesn't rank among the highest is social media following. He doesn't have an official Twitter account, just Instagram and Facebook pages. Many athletes have verified Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Just four of the 30 athletes ranked ahead of Brady have a smaller social media following.

The No. 1 ranked athlete on the list is Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo. Soccer players make up five of the top 15 spots.

Other Boston athletes joining Brady on ESPN's list include his Patriots teammate Rob Gronkowski (No. 97) and Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving (No. 47).

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