Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett isn’t afraid to follow in the steps of Chance The Rapper when it comes to supporting the youth. Just days after Chance pledged to donate $1 million to Chicago Public Schools (March 6), Bennett has planned to donate his endorsement earnings to rebuild communities that often go unnoticed.
Already an advocate for women’s rights and children, the player posted his pledge to his Instagram page on Thursday (March 8). “I was inspired by Chance the Rapper to ‘think bigger’ when he pledged one million dollars to Chicago kids and their school system,” Bennett said. “So, I’ll be joining him by investing in the future of our youth. 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. 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.”
While asking for fellow players in his field to take action, Bennett also announced plans to donate half of his jersey sales to fund inner-city garden projects.”I’m asking all professional athletes to join me by donating a portion of your endorsements this year to a cause of your choice,” Bennett said. “We can make a difference. It’s up to us to help plant seeds of hope and help fuel the future.” Bennett has made headlines in the past for his social statements. In 2015, the player provided his thoughts on the Black Lives Matter movement after teammate Richard Sherman faced backlash over his own statements.
“I think the Black lives thing is more about the social injustice, not so much the injustice of people killing within the community, it’s about the social injustice of the people that is supposed to protect them, and building the community through the Black community,” he said. “Not just Black people too, because you see a lot of people within the Black Lives Matter organization that are white, [Hispanic], they are all dealing with the same type of hardships that are going on around the world and I think sometimes people don’t take the time to look into thing going on in the world.”
ESPN reports Bennett recently signed a $31.5 million contract extension. Aside from his future donations to the youth, Bennett also has his own foundation that looks to end childhood obesity with nutritional programs and activities like community bike rides.