An NFL player known for speaking out against racism has now publicly claimed he was the victim of just that at the hands of Las Vegas police. The claim was issued by Seattle Seahawks player and Super Bowl champion Michael Bennett. Video of Bennett's encounter with Las Vegas police was published on Wednesday, Sept. 6, by TMZ. In a statement released on Twitter, the NFL player said the alleged incident occurred the same weekend as the boxing match between Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather, a high-profile sporting event which attracted a number of celebrities to Las Vegas.
The video allegedly shows the 31-year-old lineman on the ground as he's allegedly handcuffed by one officer and another allegedly points a gun at him from above. While on the ground, Bennett can reportedly be heard on the tape saying,
I wasn't doing nothing, man.
Later, Bennett adds,
They told us to get out, everybody ran.
After shots of gunfire were heard, Bennett claims he began running, along with other pedestrians, when he was taken down by police, his statement reads. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports Las Vegas police has not yet responded to a request for comment on the matter, and the department did not reply to an Elite Daily request for comment at time of publication.
Bennett also made clear in his statement that he regards his encounter with police as an instance of alleged "police brutality" and "racial profiling." He stated his intention explore legal options.
The statement read,
Like many of the people in the area I ran away from the sound, looking for safety. Las Vegas police officers singled me out and pointed their guns at me for doing nothing more than simply being a black man in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The 31 year old also says he felt "terrified" and "helpless" during the encounter.
Here's the entirety of his letter:
Michael Bennett is one of a number of NFL players that has knelt during the national anthem before games, a show of solidarity with former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick and his cause against racism and police brutality.
Now Bennett himself is claiming that he is victim of both.