Bennett Tagged Again For The Color Of His Skin
By Forrest Hunt
Posted on September 26, 2017 at 10:49 AM PDT
Michael Bennett has been an activist for African American rights throughout pre-season and the first two weeks of the 2017 NFL season. Bennett who plays on the Seattle Seahawks Defensive Line is definitely known for his play on the field but is now more recognized for his off the field stand. Bennett has been sitting for the national anthem because he wants to, “Fight for what’s right,” as he told CNN.
On August 27 Michael Bennett was doing what most of the other people in the country were doing, watching the highly anticipated Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor boxing match in Las Vegas. Little did Bennett know he would consider filing a civil rights lawsuit, telling ESPN reporters, “A traumatic experience for him and his family.”
Bennett was in Las Vegas after the fight in the morning hours when gunshots were heard inside. Since it was a highly anticipated event, police showed up quickly, and everyone inside was told to get out of the building. With the threat of there being an active shooter Bennett did as everyone else did, he ran. Until he was tackled to the ground by a police officer.
Michael is 6’4” and 274 pounds, not an easy man to take down especially being an NFL lineman. He did as the officers told him to and lied on the ground, especially once he noticed he had guns pointed at him for what Bennett said, “For doing nothing more than simply being a black man in the wrong place at the wrong time,” according to ESPN. It was a traumatic experience as Bennett laid there and thought about his wife, kids, and his family. He wondered if he would ever see them again, all of this flowing through his head while laying on the ground with guns pointed at him for doing nothing but being African American. The officers were rough according to Michael, he told ESPN reporters, “The excessive use of force was unbearable. I felt helpless as I lay there on the ground handcuffed facing the real-life threat of being killed. All I could think was I’m going to die for no other reason than I’m black and my skin color is somehow a threat.”
The way Bennett behaved in this situation was the difference between life and death, especially when he told reporters, “The officers warned me if I moved they would blow my f---ing head off.” Michael’s father, Michael Bennett Sr., was contacted by his son who told him the whole story. Sports Illustrated reported that Bennett, Sr. told his son, “This is why you’re standing.” His father thinks that Michael is alive today largely due to the way he and his brother Martellus, a Tight End for the Green Bay Packers, were raised. Bennett Sr. told Sports Illustrated, “When they were younger I’d tell them you can go out with your friends but you can’t go with three others in a car. When it’s two of y’alls in a car it’s okay. But if it’s four of y’all in a car, it’s a ‘gang.’”
The discipline Bennett Sr. taught Michael, may be the reason he is still alive today. He was taught at a young age that you do as an officer tells you to whether it’s right, wrong, or otherwise. Bennett was detained that night and then was finally let go after the officers realized who they had in handcuffs and figured out that he wasn’t the active shooter.
Las Vegas Metropolitan UnderSheriff Kevin McMahill according to ESPN said, “There was no evidence that race played a role in this incident.” According to McMahill the officers responsible for Michael Bennett’s detainment will be under investigation.