Michael Bennett has always done things his own way. Since being picked up by the Seattle Seahawks as an undrafted rookie in 2009, Bennett has carved out a long and lucrative career, highlighted by three Pro Bowl nominations and a Super Bowl title with Seattle in 2013.
Despite the on-field success he has achieved, Bennett’s interests have always extended beyond his day job. On January 31, he and his wife, Pele launched Mouthpeace with Michael and Pele Bennett, a weekly series from podcast network Lemonada Media.
For Bennett, it’s merely his latest foray into media. Last year saw the Dallas Cowboys’ star publish his debut novel, Things That Make White People Uncomfortable, which became a New York Times bestseller. Co-written with sportswriter Dave Zirin, the book highlights Bennett’s thoughts on racism and police brutality, black athletes’ relationships with the NCAA and NFL, and the responsibilities of athletes to act as role models and protest injustice.
“Michael is such a unicorn,” Lemonada co-founder Jessica Cordova Kramer said. “He’s an activist, and really a Renaissance man in the truest sense. He’s this unbelievable athlete, but he’s also incredibly well-read.”
With Mouthpeace, the Bennetts will be touching on an array of topics over the next several weeks, ranging from love and parenting to the NFL and politics. After January 31, a new episode will be released every Friday through the spring.
“We’re living in a very intense social media era and I think that can wear people down in a way,” said Stephanie Wittels Wachs, who started the network with Cordova Kramer in 2019. “So I think the genuine content that we’re putting out there – that really is representative of people’s real lives – is what’s resonating with people.”
Bennett sees Mouthpeace as another way of showing the impact that he and his wife have made beyond football. At times during the series, he and Pele are also candid about his NFL future and if retirement is realistic, though no decision has been made.
Intimate and frank career conversations like these are designed to appeal not only to football fans, but also other married couples. Pele Bennett agrees with her husband that their relationship provides much-needed guidance to their listeners.
“I think people look to us as a couple that has been together so long and they see a beautiful relationship,” Pele Bennett said. “But I also want them to know that this is a lot of work. Being married, in a relationship, committed to anything in someone is a lot of work.”
Prior to Mouthpeace, the Bennetts had worked with Lemonada only once – on the network’s third original podcast, Good Kids: How Not to Raise an A**hole.
While both Cordova Kramer and Wittels Wachs didn’t anticipate Mouthpeace, they quickly saw an opportunity for Lemonada’s growing podcast portfolio. Within an hour of meeting the Bennetts and their guest appearance on Good Kids, the couple was offered their own podcast.
“We didn’t really know Pele well until the Good Kids session, and she’s incredible too,” Cordova Kramer added. “She’s like a supermom – their family travels as a pack across the country. So wherever Michael goes, Pele and their three daughters go with him. It just seemed like such a natural fit in terms of the message that they have for the world and the platform that this can create for them.”
If Michael Bennett’s football career is indeed winding down, he and his wife are well-positioned to pursue other ventures. Bennett said that his and Pele’s passion for reading, writing, and creating could lead to more podcasts or TV shows in the future, all appealing to a small, yet important, audience.
“I think there’s a place for honesty and individuality,” Michael Bennett said. “There’s not a lot of couples who have had an impact. Why can’t we be the ones who could show what it’s like to be married, to have a family, to travel, and also build a business together?”