Michael Bennett is a Super Bowl Champion, a three-time Pro Bowl defensive end—as well as a fearless activist, a feminist, a grassroots philanthropist, an organizer, and a change-maker. He’s also been called one of the most scathingly humorous athletes on the planet, a trait that shines as he joins us to share excerpts from his book Things That Make White People Uncomfortable. He’s joined by award-winning sportswriter and co-author Dave Zirin, and together they provide a deep examination of turbulent times in America and their effect on the relationships of black athletes with powerful institutions like the NCAA and the NFL. Bennett and Zirin take Town Hall’s stage to add their unmistakable voices to discussions of racism and police violence, the role of protest in history, and the responsibilities of athletes as role models to speak out against injustice. Join Bennett and Zirin for an evening equal parts memoir and manifesto, humorous and urgent—athlete and activist.
Michael Bennett is a Super Bowl Champion, Pro Bowl MVP, three-time Pro Bowler, and two-time NFC Champion. He has gained international recognition for his public support for the Black Lives Matter movement, women’s rights, and other activist and social justice causes. In 2017, he was named one of the 100 Most Influential African Americans by The Root, was the Seattle Seahawks nominee for the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year award, and was honored along with his brother Martellus with a BET Shine a Light award for exceptional service. Bennett donates all of his endorsement money and the proceeds from his jersey sales to fund health and education projects for poor and underserved youth and minority communities, and recently expanded his reach globally to support STEM programming in Africa.
Dave Zirin is the sports editor for The Nation and the author of several books, most recently Brazil’s Dance with the Devil. Named one of UTNE Reader’s “Fifty Visionaries Who Are Changing Our World,” Zirin is a frequent guest on MSNBC, ESPN, and Democracy Now! He hosts WPFW’s “The Collision” with Etan Thomas and has been called “the best sportswriter in the United States,” by Robert Lipsyte.
Presented by Town Hall Seattle and Seattle University as part of the Civics series.