The Super Bowl champ's upcoming book, slated for publication in 2018, will be called Things That Make White People Uncomfortable. Dave Zirin, sports correspondent for The Nation, signed on as co-author. (Full disclosure: I interned at The Nation in 2013.) Haymarket Books, a Chicago-based independent publisher that mostly publishes works from a radical-left perspective, signed the deal a couple weeks ago.
Zirin tells The Stranger that Bennett approached him about writing a book together some time after the two appeared for a public discussion at Town Hall. Bennett originally pitched the book as Things That Make White People Uncomfortable At the Dinner Table.
"A good way to look at is is part-memoir, part-manifesto," Zirin says. "I can’t say this loudly enough. This is all him. He has put this all together. He’s the architect. I’m just thrilled to be along for the ride."
According to Zirin, the book will include chapters on Black Lives Matter, intersectionality, the need for athletes to organize, and the National Football League. Another chapter will focus on Bennett's daughters and the importance of uplifting women. And all of the writing will come with jokes. Says Zirin: "He's like Bill Hicks with shoulder pads."
Bennett chose to work with Haymarket after reading titles from the publisher, including Angela Davis' Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement.
"What was so cool about it is Michael Bennett could’ve published a book anywhere, but he wanted to do it in this social justice space, this independent press space," Zirin says.
It shouldn't be too much of a surprise that Bennett would choose to work with a lefty publisher. After all, this is the football player who boycotted a trip to Israel over the state's treatment of Palestinians, spoke at a Black Lives Matter for Schools rally and endorsed Bernie Sanders for president.
This Saturday, he plans to hold a benefit for the family of Charleena Lyles, the 30-year-old mother of four who was fatally shot by Seattle police officers in her apartment last month.