Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett posted a long letter on social media describing being aggressively assaulted by Las Vegas police officers after the Floyd Mayweather Conor McGregor fight.
Bennett wrote that after the fight there was what sounded like gun shots and a brief moment of panic as people began to run. Suddenly the 6’4″, 275 pound Bennett found himself being pushed to the ground and cuffed by police officers.
The letter goes on to say that an officer pointed a gun at Bennett’s head and threatened to “blow his fucking head off” if Bennett moved. TMZ has obtained video of part of the encounter.
— Michael Bennett (@mosesbread72) September 6, 2017
Bennett concluded that he will be hiring John Burris, a civil rights attorney based out of Oakland, and filing a civil rights lawsuit.
It would seem that Las Vegas PD fucked with the wrong dude. Yesterday, The Undefeated published a long feature on Bennett’s social activism, which goes far beyond just sitting out during the national anthem.
While hosting a camp at a Sioux Reservation in South Dakota, Bennett was also there to learn about the fight for equality of our Native populations. Bennett told The Undefeated,
“I believe in the connection of people. It’s the connection of oppressed people around the world, of different colors, different cultures and not just thinking what you’re going through is the most important thing.”
Bennett had some interesting shit to say about the racial dynamics in the NFL and the lack of high-profile white players stepping up and taking part in protests or speaking out about the racial inequality in the country. He imagined a world in which Tom Brady was outspoken about police violence against people of color,
“I think the biggest problem in the NFL is that we have to be able to get the biggest people involved in the issues. Every day a white quarterback throws the ball to a black receiver, but when it comes to Black Lives Matter issues, they won’t step up and be like, ‘There is an issue.’ Could you imagine if Tom Brady was to say what happened to Philando Castile was a tragedy? How would that change America if Aaron Rodgers was to say, ‘Black lives do matter’?”
Aaron Rodgers told ESPN The Magazine last week that he’s “100 percent supportive” of anyone protesting the national anthem and seems to understand the social issues in the country. Rodgers said of those staging protests, “They have a battle for racial equality. That’s what they’re trying to get a conversation started around.”
The crucial word here is “they.” Rodgers obviously didn’t meant any malice, quite the opposite, but it goes back to Bennett’s point that white players with massive profiles speaking out would change the conversation. In America, “we” have a battle for racial equality, and it takes everyone, regardless of skin color, recognizing that issue and acting upon it to effect change.
Bennett sees an opportunity to get the biggest stars in the sport together to change things for the better:
“Imagine me, Tom Brady, Colin Kaepernick, Aaron Rodgers, Greg Olsen, my brother [Martellus Bennett] just sitting on stage and being like, ‘We’re tired of what’s going on in America. We want to fight for women’s equality. We want to fight to make sure that minority kids feel like they have a place. We want to challenge our brands and our leagues to make sure this is happening.’ People are going to fall in line. It’s going to be the biggest thing that ever happened.”
If it weren’t such a tragedy, there would be some irony in the fact that Las Vegas police harassed and assaulted one of the most outspoken athletes in the world.
This violation that happened against my Brother Michael Bennett is disgusting and unjust. I stand with Michael and I stand with the people. pic.twitter.com/TqXFiso6lk
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) September 6, 2017
Bennett has a platform to speak out against police brutality and racism in America, he has millions of dollars, he’ll be able to hire one of the best lawyers in the country, but many people who are abused by the system do not.
If this happens to well-known player like Michael Bennett, imagine what else is going on. And people wonder why NFL players protest. https://t.co/WdXaSKO6WK
— Nancy Armour (@nrarmour) September 6, 2017
Hopefully the biggest players in the league, and people around the country, heed Bennett’s call.