Seattle Seahawks’ star Michael Bennett was racially profiled and taken to the ground, handcuffed and threated with a gun to his head by Las Vegas police, when, as “a black man being in the wrong place at the wrong time,” he was part of a crowd fleeing reports of gunshots outside a much-publicized boxing match on August 26.
Bennett held a press conference about this incident only two days ago because he is from Houston, and as an activist and humanitarian, he prioritized helping Hurricane Harvey victims in any way he could. Bennett has also been supportive of quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s ongoing “taking a knee” protest against racial injustice in American and some think it may have been one reason for his near-death experience with the LVPD.
Michael Bennett’s activism is certainly the reason the Las Vegas police union sent a most disturbing letter to the NFL asking them to investigate Bennett. The letter read in part: “While the NFL may condone his disrespect for our American flag and everything it symbolizes, we hope the league will not ignore Bennett’s false accusations against our police officers.”
The Nation magazine sports editor Dave Zirin—who is working on a biography of the football star titled, Things That Make White People Uncomfortable—spoke this morning to Amy Goodman on Democracy Now. Zirin said, “So think about what Las Vegas police are doing here. They’re calling upon the NFL to investigate Michael Bennett for telling the truth about what we see on tape. And they’re saying, basically, that, well, maybe he deserved it because of his stance about the flag. That is so frightening to think that the police would put forward the statement that one’s personal politics justifies brutality.”
The entire interview on Democracy Now is inspiring and well worth your time. Particularly note the photos of demonstrations around the country, including high school and college football players in solidarity with Kaepernick and the issues he raises.
I am not a football fan (as you will see in my upcoming post on the film Concussion and a recent Frontline report titled “League of Denial”), but I am outraged by the seeming explosive increase in police brutality (or maybe just an increase in reporting of it).
You might also check out the viral video and story of a Utah emergency room nurse quietly standing her ground for a patient’s rights, who was manhandled and arrested by a cop with perhaps more to cover up.