Seahawks' Michael Bennett will donate all endorsement money
Inspired by a $1 million gift from Chance the Rapper to Chicago Public Schools, Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett pledged to donate all of his 2017 endorsement money to "help rebuild minority communities."
In a statement released Thursday, Bennett said he would donate his off-the-field earnings to project-based learning models in minority communities as well as initiatives aimed at supporting women of color.
"The system is failing our kids, and it will be up to the community and our leaders to help keep the hope alive by focusing on improving our education system and the future of our kids," Bennett said in a statement. "Any company that decides to invest in me, just know that you'll be investing in opportunities and providing inspiration for these families -- many who feel unnoticed or go unmentioned."
Bennett's announcement came a day after he voiced his support for Wednesday's "A Day Without Women," which coincided with International Women's Day.
The 31-year-old also said he would donate half of the proceeds of his jersey sales to supporting inner-city garden projects in order to "provide the right nutrition and access to healthy living for all."
Bennett has been one of the NFL's most outspoken players on social issues, calling out fellow NFL stars for their unwillingness to speak out on issues like the "Black Lives Matter" movement on the first day of training camp last summer and pulling out of a planned visit to Israel last month amid concerns the trip would be used for political purposes.
He earned his second Pro Bowl berth in 2016 despite missing five games with a knee injury that required arthroscopic surgery in early November. A dominant defender against both the pass and the run, he ranked third on the team with five sacks and 18 quarterback hits on the season, but led the team with 14 tackles for loss despite playing in just 10 games.
Bennett signed a three-year contract extension worth a reported $31.5 million with $17.5 million in guarantees in December, which will keep him in Seattle through the 2020 season.
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