Even NFL players are not immune to racism and social injustices, and Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett alleges he experienced that first hand last week in Las Vegas, where an altercation with local police officers left him terrified, confused and fearing for his life.
Bennett shared his horrific experience in a letter addressed to the “world” on Twitter Wednesday.
Bennett attended the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor fight two weeks ago in Las Vegas. He said that after the fight was over, he was heading back to his hotel room when the sound of gun shots rang through the air, which police later attributed the report of gunfire to the sound of velvet rope stands falling over.
Bennett said he began to run away as most of the crowd began to scatter. But the 6-foot-4, 274-pound professional football player was allegedly singled out and a Las Vegas police officer aimed his gun at Bennett, according to the letter. He said that the officers did this “for doing nothing more than simply being a black man in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
“As I laid on the ground, complying with [the officer’s] commands to not move, he placed his gun near my head and warned me that if I moved he would ‘blow my f—ing head off,'” Bennett wrote.
Bennett asked the officers what he had done, but they didn’t answer his questions until the police officers realized who he was and ultimately released him without justifying their actions, Bennett’s letter alleges.
Police Officer Jacinto Rivera says Las Vegas police are checking for video and written reports but can’t immediately verify Bennett’s account.
TMZ Sports obtained a video of part of the altercation between a Las Vegas police officer and Bennet.
Since the incident, Bennett hired Oakland civil rights attorney John Burris to help him explore his legal opportunities and said he’s considering to file a civil rights lawsuit.
Many NFL players have decided to use their platform to speak up against social injustices. Former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started the movement after he decided to do a silent protest by taking a knee during the national anthem before games.
Kaepernick hasn’t been signed to a team during the offseason after he became a free agent.
Bennett is one of the many NFL players who have decided to join in Kaepernick’s protest. During the Seahawks preseason games, Bennett has been seen sitting on the sidelines during the national anthem. He said he plans to continue his protest.
Kaepernick shared Bennett’s letter on Wednesday and tweeted that he stands in solidarity with Bennett.
“This violation that happened against my brother Michael Bennett is disgusting and unjust,” Kaepernick wrote.
Contributing: Associated Press