Bennett talks Kaepernick, Wilson and ‘Things That Make White People Uncomfortable’

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JERSEY CITY, NJ - JANUARY 30: Michael Bennett #72 of the Seattle Seahawks addresses the media during Super Bowl XLVIII media availability at the Westin Hotel January 30, 2014 in Jersey City, New Jersey. The Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks will meet in Super Bowl XLVIII at Metlife Stadium on February 2, 2014. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

SEATTLE – Yes, Michael Bennett thinks Colin Kaepernick is unemployed because of race and politics.

Yes, he likes Russell Wilson just fine.

And yes, he spent part of his offseason working on a book called “Things That Make White People Uncomfortable.”

Bennett wasted little time in his first press conference of Seattle Seahawks minicamp tackling a number of controversial topics that have swirled around the team in the offseason, including applauding coach Pete Carroll for taking a long look at Kaepernick even as the rest of the NFL decided it wanted little to do with the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback.

“There is no logical explanation,” Bennett said. “There’s the elephant in the room why Kaepernick isn’t signed, and I think most people know why. I’ve said this several times, and I’m not afraid to say it: I think race and politics in sports is something people don’t want to hear about, nor do people want to be a part of.

“I think if you bring the issue of oppressed people onto a stage where there’s millions of fans watching, you bring up dirty little secrets, and I think a lot of people don’t want to hear that. People just want to see people score touchdowns and make big hits. They don’t want to hear about people getting killed by the police, gentrification, women’s issues, nobody wants to hear about that, Standing Rock, nobody wants to hear about that. People just want to hear about athletes playing sports.”

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Bennett said he takes Carroll at his word that Kapernick wasn’t signed because the team didn’t want another starting-caliber quarterback on the roster, and suggested it was because the coaching staff didn’t want Wilson to face competition.

“If he feels it’s not the right situation because we have a starting quarterback, then that’s his choice,” Bennett said. “He’s shown that he’s of a winning pedigree, and  he wants to not have that competition behind his quarterback – I think it’s justifiable.”

And don’t take that comment as a knock against Wilson. Bennett disputed a report from ESPN’s Seth Wickersham that Wilson is unpopular with the Seahawks’ defense.

“I like Russell Wilson,” Bennett said. “I’ve always liked Russell Wilson. I think Russell Wilson is a phenomenal human being, not just as an athlete, but as a leader in the community.

“I think Russell Wilson is the perfect quarterback for our team. He’s the perfect leader.”

Bennett said the perception that Wilson is treated differently than other players, while perhaps accurate, is to be expected and isn’t a cause for animosity.

“When I was the quarterback in … sixth grade, I used to get more Lunchables than everybody, I got more jelly beans than everybody, because I was the quarterback!” Bennett said. “That’s just how things go!

“If you look at any team in the NFL, if there’s a defensive player who’s the face of your organization, you’re not winning the Super Bowl. That is a fact.”

Bennett said he’s been working on “Things That Make White People Uncomfortable” for five or sixth months, and said it will come out in December or January.

“The book I’m focusing on is issues that are important in America, and that are my view,” Bennett said. “My view is an opinion, everybody’s view is an opinion, and this is my story, this is my journey.”

And how about that title?

“I think the title’s just a title to start a conversation so that people will want to read,” Bennett said.