MERCER ISLAND, WASH. - Editor's Note: This interview was recorded prior to Bennett's incident in Las Vegas.
Earlier this week, Seahawk Michael Bennett revealed he'd been violently detained by police after a crowd disturbance following the Mayweather-McGregor fight in Las Vegas. Video of that encounter later surfaced on TMZ.
There's no indication that Bennett was involved in any wrongdoing. It appears he was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. But Bennett adds that he was also the wrong color, a victim of racial profiling, against which he's currently weighing his legal options.
After all, Michael Bennett is a man who will not be silenced.
"If we're not willing to speak up and be a voice, who's going to be a voice?" said Bennett.
He's been standing up against racial injustice -- by sitting down -- during the national anthem, a controversial statement intended to bring voice to the voiceless.
"When I sit," Bennett explained, "those are the things that I want to remind people [of]: the principles of America, the principles of equality, the principles of justice for all."
The Seahawk and his family's charity group, the Bennett Foundation, are also taking a stand for nutrition.
"Mike is well thought-out," said his teammate in the kitchen, chef Steve Lee, who Michael met at his off-season home in Hawaii.
Lee said, "I think, as a whole, he cares about people."
Recently, Michael and Steve served up fresh, healthy food at a private fundraiser for the Wing Luke Museum and the Bennett Foundation.
"Our foundation is about eating healthier, fighting childhood obesity," Bennett said. "So one of the biggest things we focus on is cooking at home."
The meal featured favorites from the Bennett family menu, including wagu beef and assorted raw seafood.
"They're eating mostly vegetables and fish," Lee said. "That's probably the biggest part of their diet."
The dinner featured a sampling of the sort of food Michael and his organization are working to bring to families all across the economic spectrum.
Bennett said, "We've done a lot of projects where we bring different vegetables to kids and they don't even know what an apple is."
He says nutritious meals shouldn't just be a luxury item for the well-to-do. They should be available for all.
"I think nutrition is super important if you think about kids and you think about their backgrounds. A lot of people don't have access to nutritious food," said Bennett.
The evening came with a side dish of straight talk.
"You can't worry about what the backlash will be," Bennett told guests at the fundraiser. "You've just got to worry about the impact."
"That's him. That's who he is," said Lee.
Michael's serious side comes as a surprise for some fans. But Chef Lee said the hard-hitter hasn't lost his light touch.
"He is kind of a clown."
"I am," Bennett agreed. "I enjoy every single moment. Every time I see my wife, I kiss her like it's the first time I met her. And every time I see my kids, I treat them like it's the first time they were born. So I try to live in every single moment."
Michael Bennett says he will keep laughing, and keep fighting to level the playing field.
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