BOSTON (CBS) — Drew Brees’ comments on national anthem protests on Wednesday generated quite a bit of reaction around the league. Perhaps nobody had a stronger response than retired tight end Martellus Bennett.

The 33-year-old who played for six NFL teams between 2008-17 began a lengthy Twitter thread on Wednesday evening, kicked off with a question: “Damn y’all thought Drew would say something different than what he did?”

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“Tell me one white QB that truly stands for something other than their captain America images,” Bennett wrote. “Not one of them spoke up when it wasn’t easy to speak up. Now they writing statements. And y’all wanna applaud them for these statements, when y’all crucified every athlete that said something by protesting in the beginning. Locking arms was always stupid. There was no risk in locking arms. It was no [different] from these corporate BLM statement. Look [I’m] happy they’re saying something.. but when they had a chance to make a big play for their black teammates and colleagues most of em remained silent, showed ignorance or didn’t say anything of importance when it was really needed.”

Bennett added that with countless players speaking up against police brutality and racial inequality at the moment, he remains skeptical of their true intentions and goals.

“Funny thing is that if the white guys I showered with, slept next to, [went to the bathroom] next to, counted on etc etc would never speak up for me how could I ever expect the white folks I never spent any time with at all to do so?” he asked. “But now that there’s a safety net everyone wants to speak up. I hear it but I wanna see it.”

Bennett also took issue with Broncos head coach Vic Fangio stating that he doesn’t see racism “at all” in the NFL — a comment for which Fangio later apologized.

“And Fangio saying that there’s no racism in the league is like sitting on an elephant and telling me it’s a horse,” Bennett wrote. “All these coaches with white daddy syndrome in the league and football period talking down to black players in a way they would never do to a white player know it’s wrong, then want to turn around and tell em I’m hard on because I love you like you’re my own son as an excuse.”

Bennett added; “And Fangio of course the league has racism because there are racist players, coaches, owners, GMs, trainers, executives in it. So cut the bulls—. How are you leading black men that feel that racism everyday when you telling em it doesn’t exist?”

Using the lack of diversity among head coaches (all but four are white men), Bennett made a straightforward statement: “The NFL is racist.”

“The difference is that [the owners] need the black players to make the league work they don’t need the black coaches in order for it to work,” Bennett added. “You [can’t] tell me Joe Judge is more primed and ready to lead a team to championship than Eric Bieniemy.”

Bennett also took issue with the media that covers football, noting how black quarterbacks are held to a much different standard than their white counterparts.

“Sports media folks play a [role] in the framing of negative narratives around black players too. A lot of you m—-f—– are racist as well. Black QB have to do every f—— thing right, Baker Mayfield and his white privilege allows him to do whatever he wants. ‘This kid has so much swagger.’ No the f— he doesn’t. If a black QB did any of that and lost, the narrative wouldn’t be swagger it be unfocused, not serious.”

Bennett then steered the conversation back to Brees’ comments on protests during the national anthem. Bennett took issue with the quarterback ignoring the explanations from countless players that the protests are in no way aimed at the military.

“Let’s not [be] ignorant. You have a HOF QB in Drew talking about protesting the military when taking a knee. It’s been forever long how the f— do you still not know what your black ‘brothers’ are fighting for?” Bennett wrote. “You get in front of millions on your platform and give an ignorant statement f—ing up the message dudes have lost their jobs fighting for. You and your friends need to take your knees off of the necks of your black teammates and stand for something. Because spreading the false narrative of protesting the military and s— is exactly what you are doing. Get informed. Read a f—ing book.”

Bennett called upon the message that guided his children’s book, “Dear Black Boy,” in which he encouraged black youth to aspire to be more than just athletes.

“Protect these black boys when you allow them the play these sports. The coaches, owners, leaders at all levels will brainwash them to believe that it’s all they need to be and focus on. When you sign those waivers you’re signing over their identities,” he tweeted. “So do your research on what these coaches are saying and instilling in these kids. And coaches stop with the ‘if you have other interest you don’t love the sport you’re playing’ narrative. That other interest could be their forever because you know the sport isn’t. Because the way it is set up throughout the entire system is that the only place they truly have in the league is as a player. The forever jobs in the league are dominated by white people, starting with the QB position. Because of racism just look at how they talked about Lamar [Jackson].”

Bennett added: “We need more black coaches leading black men. And the league [has] stopped many players from experiencing that with blatant racism and prejudice when hiring coaches. You can play for our team but you can’t lead our teams.”

Bennett ended his thread there, but he still had more to say.

“Peyton Manning threw 28 interceptions in ’98, Eli 27 in 2013. Jameis Winston threw 30 in ’19 and led the league in passing. But look at the narratives around them at the time,” he wrote. “Arizona Cardinals couldn’t wait to fire Steve [Wilks] to hire an up and coming white boy. While Matt Patricia gets another chance after sucking for two years. Why?”

Bennett also pointed to a comment from Aaron Rodgers, who was briefly Bennett’s teammate in 2017. Bennett took issue with Rodgers’ statement that it’s black people — not white people — who have to fight a battle for racial equality.

“So miss me with bulls—. Show me one,” Bennett said. “I don’t want to see y’all paint these dudes as white saviors that were always speaking up. It’s just not true. I was there. He saw what I went thru while protesting in Green Bay. And protesting in Wisconsin is a wild experience.”

Brees ended up issuing an apology on Thursday morning, which might temporarily quiet the league-wide discussion. It certainly will not, however, end this conversation as players and coaches in the league continue to express their views on matters much more important than football.

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