By Kallie Gregg
In the week following the New England Patriot’s fifth Super Bowl victory on Feb. 5, six players have said they won’t attend the team’s visit to the White House.
One of those players, tight-end Martellus Bennett, has more specific plans for his offseason that won’t involve training or traveling to Washington, D.C.
On his Twitter account last week (@Martysaurusrex), Bennett spoke (or rather, tweeted) candidly about his pursuits outside of football and his goal to be seen as more than an athlete.
“The reason I’m not doing any of the media tour stuff after winning the SB is because I just wanted to come home and work creatively,” he wrote.
Bennett is the founder of The Imagination Agency, a multimedia production company that, among other things, has produced Bennett’s children’s book “Hey A.J.”
This isn’t the first time Bennett has spoken out. He shared his Ted Talk from 2016 on Twitter last week, entitled “More Than an Athlete.”
Echoing themes from that talk, he spoke to his creative vision and his hopes to use his platform to increase diversity in artistic spaces, both through charity and through The Imagination Agency.
“I appreciate all of the love. I honestly just want people to look at black kids and not say he’s the next Michael Jordan all the damn time […] I want them to be able to look into the crowd and say oh he’s the next President. She’s gonna be the next Spielberg. He’s like Steve Jobs […] There’s nothing wrong with being an athlete but just know that you can be so much more. […] I want to introduce them to new possibilities. You can get scholarships for creative writing, band, film school,” he said in a series of tweets on February 8th.
In that same series of tweets, Bennett also discussed the intersection of his interest in the arts and his experience as a black man.
“I have two libraries in my house thousands of books. I love to read because I know that for a long time ancestors weren’t allowed to. I love to write. Because for a lonnnnnngg [sic] time my people weren’t ‘allowed’ to. So I’m going to write my books, my apps and tell my stories. I’m going to speak my mind because guess what… that’s right for a looonngg [sic] time my ancestors didn’t have a voice.”
Throughout the offseason, Bennett plans to focus his charity efforts on artistic opportunities, such as film camps, rather than “building gyms” or other athletic pursuits.
Vowing to use his platform to “be heard” rather than “be seen,” and to create media that will resonate with his daughter and other children of color, Bennett wrote that he will not stay put inside “the box society provide[d] for him at birth.”
Bennett has continued to tweet over the last week, both about more serious social issues as well as lighter topics and updates from The Imagination Academy.
True to his word, Bennett refuses to be categorized into any one box, not even one that reads “Super Bowl Champion.”
“You can Be anything. You can do anything. Dream Bigger. Imagine More,” he said in a tweet on Feb. 8.