By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
HOUSTON (CBS) — Throughout his Hall of Fame career, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has been the ultimate politician, mastering the art of speaking words without definitively answering a question.
First-year teammate Martellus Bennett is, pretty much, the complete opposite.
The 29-year-old tight end has never ducked any question and is generally happy to share his opinions and thoughts. And so, at “Opening Night” at Minute Maid Park on Monday night, Bennett was asked if he would visit President Donald Trump at the White House if he is fortunate enough to win the Super Bowl.
“I don’t know. I’ve got to win the Super Bowl first, but most likely no,” Bennett said, per Dave Birkett of The Detroit Free Press. “I don’t – that’s not – I don’t support the guy that’s in the house.”
Considering the party line at 1 Patriot Place has always instructed players and coaches to avoid speaking earnestly whenever possible, Bennett’s stance is unique. He was asked why he’s so eager to share his thoughts freely while other players remain guarded.
“Other players are worried about their personal brand,” Bennett said. “I feel like a lot of players throughout every situation, I mean, they have chances to really impact the community with things that they say. So many people are looking for encouragement, for examples, for a chance to promote change. But for a lot of guys, it comes down to the dollar — what this brand or what this company may say, or how I’m going to look if I speak out. And sometimes, a lot of guys just aren’t educated enough to do it. They really don’t know the subject. So, it varies, but I think the biggest thing is stepping out on that plank, because they feel like they feel like they will get crucified if they do speak up on different topics.”
Bennett said that he considers his chances to speak to large audiences to be a real opportunity to effect change.
“I’m not going to pass that up. You know, if I have a chance to change the world, I’m going to do everything I can to change the world,” Bennett said. “And for me, like, everyone has a different contribution. For me, I feel like it’s laughter. So I try to tell as many jokes as possible and make as many people laugh as possible, or write stories that’s funny. I write stories — creativity is my gift. I try to give back to the world. Like, that’s one of my good charms. So I think when you have a chance to impact the world, you go for it. No matter what anyone says, what anyone thinks about you personally, if you believe in something and you truly have morals and standards for yourself and your own ethic code.”
Patriots owner Robert Kraft, a friend of President Trump who attended the inauguration in Washington D.C. earlier this month, declined to discuss politics on Monday night.
“Yeah, I’m going to tell you, there’s appropriate times to talk about that,” Kraft said. “I’m so privileged to be here in this hall and in the Super Bowl city. There’s times and places to talk politics; this is a time I’m going to keep focused on the joy of it. You know, here’s a piece of advice to all of you, because life is hard sometimes. When you have great things — I told [Falcons owner] Arthur Blank this, he told me ‘Give me some advice.’ I said, ‘Don’t let anyone ruin these two weeks. Because there will be a lot of things coming on and pressure and anyone who’s piercing the bubble of happiness, get ‘em out of here.’ So these two weeks, we’re going to just focus on how lucky we are to be here and do whatever we can to try to help our team win the game.”
Likewise, Brady opted to not further discuss his relationship with Trump. Previously, he had sported a “Make America Great Again” hat in his locker and spoken of his long-running friendship with Trump.
“I’m not talking politics at all,” he said, per Gary Myers of the New York Daily News. “I just want to focus on the positive aspects of this game, my teammates and the reason why we are here. It has taken a lot of hard work to get to this point. I just want to focus on the positive nature of two great teams competing at this level.”