Steve Almasy, CNN, February 12, 2017
Michael Bennett enjoyed his brother’s recent Super Bowl victory along with actor Mark Wahlberg.
(CNN) — Michael Bennett, a Pro Bowl defensive end for the Seattle Seahawks, is one of the NFL’s most outspoken players on social issues.
And once again he is in the middle of a controversy after announcing he was withdrawing from a overseas trip hosted by the Israeli government.
Bennett will be joined on the sidelines by at least one other player who objects to what the players say is Israel using them as political tools.
Bennett, whose brother, Martellus plays for the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, tweeted Friday that he had been looking forward to the trip next week.
But he read an article in an Israeli newspaper, he said, where a Israel’s Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy Minister Gilad Erdan was quoted as saying: “The ministry which I lead is spearheading an intensive fight against the delegitimization and BDS campaigns against Israel, and part of this struggle includes hosting influencers and opinion-formers of international standing in different fields, including sport.”
BDS stands for boycott, divestment and sanctions, and is a movement that aims to end what it sees as “international support for Israel’s oppression of Palestinians.”
Another Israeli official said he hoped the players would become ambassadors of goodwill for Israel.
It caused Bennett to change his mind.
“I will not be used in such a way,” he wrote.