Seahawks' Michael Bennett continues dispute with ESPN's Stephen A. Smith
Michael Bennett publicly expressed his frustration with ESPN's Stephen A. Smith on social media Thursday, continuing a dispute between the two that began when the Seahawks defensive end showed support for Colin Kaepernick earlier this week.
Bennett said during a radio interview Tuesday that Seattle would be a "perfect place" for the free-agent quarterback -- who became a controversial figure after his 2016 national anthem protest -- because, like Kaepernick, there are current Seahawks players who dedicate their time to community outreach.
Smith, on Wednesday's edition of "First Take," was critical of Bennett's endorsement, primarily citing Kaepernick's decision not to vote in the November election.
The two exchanged tweets later Wednesday, Bennett repeatedly calling Smith "weak" for "discrediting our work in the black communities, youth in prison, work with women STEM programs and health living."
On Thursday's "First Take," Smith doubled down on his stance, again emphasizing the importance of black people exercising the right to vote, while also responding directly to Bennett's "weak" remarks.
"If I'm weak, so be it. I'm certainly not as strong as you, at least physically," Smith said. "But clearly I'm stronger mentally because I saw nothing for you to be offended at, if you're Michael Bennett. A bit sensitive, as far as I'm concerned."
n a lengthy Instagram post Thursday directed at Smith, Bennett agreed that voting is important but claimed Smith has been spreading "ignorance" and called him a clown. Bennett also highlighted his own community work, writing that he and others "stand alongside people who have dedicated their lives to try and make change."
"I have spent countless hours in minority communities from orphanages in Haiti to juvenile detention centers in this country, building community gardens so our young people living in 'food deserts' without anywhere to buy food other than a corner store, have better nutrition," Bennett wrote. "Please be a better person- other than someone who is just all talk and no action. I encourage you to join me, in person and checkbook, and help build up our communities."
Bennett also copied a version of the photo caption in a photographed tweet and sent it directly to Smith.
Kaepernick has been holding his "Know Your Rights Camp" in various communities across the country. According to the quarterback's website, the camp is "a free campaign for youth fully funded by Colin Kaepernick to raise awareness on higher education, self empowerment, and instruction to properly interact with law enforcement in various scenarios."
Bennett said Tuesday he believes it's his "calling" to help others and initiate change. He recently helped teammate Cliff Avril -- and others -- build schools for underprivileged youth in Haiti and hosted youth football camps in Guam through his Bennett Foundation.
In March, Bennett pledged to donate all of his endorsement money in 2017 to causes that help improve minority communities.
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