Seahawks' Michael Bennett reached out to Panthers' Cam Newton on athletes and social change

BySheil Kapadia ESPN logo
Monday, August 1, 2016

RENTON, Wash. -- During an interview on SportsCenter, Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett on Monday confirmed that he reached out to Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton to clarify comments he made about athletes and social change.

"I just said that I'm not trying to make a division within the community of NFL players," Bennett said. "I'm just trying to bring unity, basically. Sometimes you read things, and it comes out like I'm saying that that's the main person. But I'm just saying that we need to work together to come together with what's going on and figure a way, how can we be better? How can we be better influencers?

"Just want to work well with all the players together. It takes a village to do something like this. It's not going to be one player. It's going to be a group of players. I just want to emphasize that to a lot of the players."

On Saturday at Seahawks training camp, Bennett called on NFL players to follow the lead of their NBA and WNBA counterparts in influencing social change.

"In the NBA, everybody is standing up for it, so the greatest players are in the forefront of the movement," Bennett said Saturday. "Here in the NFL, the greatest players aren't in the forefront of the movement. Whether it's the CBA, whether it's things going on with trying to change the way -- concussions. The greatest players aren't involved like LeBron James, Chris Paul and all these guys [in the NBA]. Our great players are sitting back just taking the dollars, whether it's Cam Newton, all these guys. They're not really on the forefront of trying to change what's going on."

Pro Football Talk first reported that Bennett called Newton.

Through a team spokesperson, Newton declined to comment.

ESPN Panthers reporter David Newton contributed to this report.