NFL brothers Martellus and Michael Bennett tossed around plenty of jokes during their ESPN The Magazine feature story for the August 22 issue.
Something that wasn't a laughing matter, though, was Martellus's definition for the National Football League.
"Do you know what the NFL stands for?" the Patriots' tight end asked the writer of the piece. "N****** For Lease."
Despite the brothers having both made upwards of $20 million playing football, Martellus then attempted to explain his definition for the league a bit more.
"Growing up, Black people never owned anything," he continued. "I want to build. I want to make."
He then turned to his brother Michael, a defensive end for the Seattle Seahawks, before asking: "How many Black owners have there been in the history of the NFL?"
Michael shot back: "Zero. We're check getters, not check writers."
Earlier in the feature piece, Michael commented: "If you're a player, the only thing you own is your likeness, and your likeness has a date on it. The only way we can be sustainable is to make our own companies."
The siblings then turned their attention to the NFL Players Association, saying the change players need should start with themselves and trying different approaches to get what they want.
"Why are we not hiring people who used to work at Microsoft, at Google, Apple?" Michael asked. "We can't be athletes thinking the way athletes think. We need people who are like: 'I used to work at Nike. Let's go to China and create our own shoes.'"
Martellus has his own issues with the Players Association.
"That's my problem with the NFLPA," Martellus continued where his brother left off. "I feel like they're always playing defense and not offense. They're never making progressive moves."
Added Michael: "We could be like the WWE — they started their own channel. We could make our own movies. We could make our own show."
All seemingly true.
Martellus's controversial definition for the NFL came on the heels of his brother calling on NFL players to spark social change much like LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Paul did in the NBA with their stand at the ESPYs last month. In doing so, he took a shot at recently retired Super Bowl champ Peyton Manning.
"In the NBA, LeBron James, Chris Paul... they're at the forefront," Michael said. "There's no Peyton Manning standing up for the rest of the players. He's a great player, but what has he done for the league?"
Oof. Michael and Martellus definitely speak their minds, don't they?
Agree with their comments, though?
BET Sports News — Get the latest news and information about African-Americans in sports, including weekly recaps, celebrity news and photos of your favorite Black athletes.
(Photo: Al Pereira/New York Jets/Getty Images)