Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett has been one of the most vocal players in the NFL about the protests started by former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, began in opposition to the unequal treatment of minorities by law enforcement.
Bennett now has a personal reason to continue.
Bennett just posted an open letter to social media, detailing an incident in Las Vegas in which police there forced him to the ground and pointed a gun at his head, threatening to “blow my f—ing head off.”
Bennett described a chaotic scene as he was leaving the recent Mayweather-McGregor fight, when a loud sound was heard which sounded like gunshots. Bennett said he ran away from the sound for consideration of his own safety, a police officer pulled a gun on him, ordered him to the ground and threatened to shoot him if he moved. He said a second cop then came and put a knee in his back to detain him, and he was handcuffed and put in the back of a police car until they confirmed his identity.
“The Officers’ excessive use of force was unbearable,” Bennett wrote. “I felt helpless as I lay there on the ground handcuffed facing the real-life threat of being killed. All I could think of was “I’m going to die for no other reason than I am black and my skin color is somehow a threat.’ My life flashed before my eyes as I thought of my girls. Would I ever play with them again? Or watch them have kids? Or be able to kiss my wife again and tell her I love her.”
Bennett said treatment like this was why he has sat during the national anthem and will continue to, “because equality doesn’t live in this country and no matter how much money you make, what job title you have, or how much you give, when you are seen as a N—–, you will be treated that way.”
Bennett’s strong words demand a response from the authorities in Las Vegas, and a deeper examination of the attitudes that allow events like this to happen.
And perhaps, it will open some minds as to why Bennett has taken the stand he has, at a time when his status as an elite player allows him to.