Dallas Cowboys defensive end Michael Bennett has always been bold. He endorsed Bernie Sanders in the 2016 political race. He’s sat during the national anthem. He’s spoken out against police brutality. Now Bennett and his wife, Pele, will have their own platform to voice all their opinions. Mouthpeace, a podcast hosted by the couple, launched last month, and they say it will explore all topics, ranging from culture, politics, race, religion, sex and sports.
“I think a lot of people just wanted to hear our perspective and opinion on a lot of things,” Pele says.
On episode 3 of the podcast titled “A Fist Held High,” Michael and Pele discuss Michael’s past decision to sit during the national anthem before games while he was on the Philadelphia Eagles. Since joining the Cowboys roster, Michael has stood during the song.
“I think white America and black America is different,” Michael says on the podcast. “And I say black America, I think that includes all people of color, whether it’s Polynesian, whether it’s Hispanic, whether it’s all brown people. I think brown people in America experience a different America from most white America. And that is just true. They say when white people catch the cold, black people catch the flu. That’s just always been the history of it.”
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has been vocal that Cowboys players must stand during the national anthem, but Michael says he’s free to do what he wants, including speaking his mind on Mouthpeace.
“I don’t need permission from anybody to do anything,” Michael says. “I’m my own person. I’ve got my freedom. Emancipation Proclamation. So I’ve been able to be what I want, freely.”
Of course, being an outspoken football player is a risk, so much so Michael can’t believe I would even ask the question (“Is that a joke, a real question?” he asks.)
“I think there’s a lot of risk for anybody who is outspoken whether their job is working in a factory or whether their job is working politics,” he says. “When people have a voice and want to voice their opinion, there’s always a little bit of risk. We live in a world where nobody wants to be real about real issues.”
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Michael and Pele interview different guests on the podcast, and they’ve already interviewed "Freeway Rick" Ross, author and former drug trafficker, and John Carlos, an Olympian who held up his fist during the Olympic medal podium in 1968.
On episode 5, the couple interviewed 2020 presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke, who said his plans are to focus on helping Texas. O'Rourke says he doesn't think he's on anyone's short list to be vice president, and it would be presumptuous to assume so.
Before and after the interviews, Michael and Pele give insight into how they navigate social justice.
“I think a lot of people know certain stances of Michael, but they don’t know the other side of him,” Pele says. “So with the information of who he is off the field, that he is just a human, a dad, father, a husband, we do everyday things, but we also use our voices to reach out and talk about different topics that are happening in America, that are happening globally.”