Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett has issued a statement online detailing the alleged mistreatment he suffered at the hands of Las Vegas police while he was in town for the Mayweather vs. McGregor fight.
Bennett’s said on Twitter that he was going back to his hotel on Aug. 26 after attending the highly anticipated boxing match when he heard what sounded like gunshots and joined others in running away.
“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,” said he in his statement.
Bennett said he was asked to lie on the ground, before a gun was pointed at his head.
He said an officer told him not to move or he would, “blow my fucking head off.” A second officer joined the scene and proceeded to jam his knee into the player’s back making it difficult to breathe.
Bennett had not addressed the incident since posting the letter on his personal Twitter page. During a news conference, at the Seahawks’ team room, the defensive end was emotional talking about his daughters and left the podium after discussing the event for a few minutes.
Chicago rapper Common, and fellow NFL player Colin Kaepernick have been posting their support for Bennett.
Kaepernick stated, “This violation that happened against my Brother Michael Bennett is disgusting and unjust. I stand with Michael and I stand with the people.”
The Seattle Seahawks head coach, Pete Carroll, also circulated an official reaction stating the NFL team stands “in support of him and anyone facing inequalities.”
Shortly after Bennett’s news conference, the Las Vegas Police Department held their own to talk to the media about the incident.
Undersheriff Kevin McMahill said they are in the process of reviewing the footage and asked the Bennett and his legal representative contact the department.
This is not Bennett’s first time speaking out. The NFL activist has also sat out the national anthem on several occasions and earlier this year skipped a trip to Israel in solidarity with Palestine. The Seattle Seahawks’ player is currently retaining civil rights attorney John Burris to investigate and explore his legal options.
Patrisse Cullors, a co-founder of the Black Lives Matter advocacy group, said the incident was "a testament to the police violence targeting black people in the United States".
Jocelyn Benson, chief executive of the non-profit Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality, released a statement crediting Bennett with "courage and leadership in addressing issues of racial injustice in our country".