Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett has been sitting for the national anthem as a protest against police brutality and racial injustice. He doesn’t figure to stop anytime soon, either – especially not after his traumatic encounter with Las Vegas police in the early morning hours of Aug. 27.
Bennett, who was walking back to his hotel, was confronted by police, forced to the ground, assaulted, threatened, and had a gun pointed at him. He posted several of these images on Twitter.
“That backs up the story that Bennett said he feared for his life and he thought of his wife and his children at the time, and that’s all he could think about,” Tacoma News Tribune Seahawks writer Gregg Bell said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “Cliff Avril, his best player on the team, was in Las Vegas for the McGregor/Mayweather fight that night and said he’s never seen Bennett as shaken as he was about that – and remains shaken. Avril doesn’t even bring it up. Bennett brings it up every once in a while.
“This has gone very far beyond football for Michael Bennett, and of course any athlete that’s in the NFL right now – since Colin Kaepernick is unemployed – the one athlete that’s going to take a platform and a stand against this is Michael Bennett. He was already doing it with the national anthem and now he has a personal incident. He said that this incident in Las Vegas is exactly why he’s been sitting for the national anthem for the last month.”
Bennett isn’t the only Seahawk to have had unfortunate encounters with police. Richard Sherman has, too.
“He said it’s happened to him in the past,” Bell said of Sherman. “It happened to him growing up in Compton, and it happened to him at Stanford a couple times, of policemen assuming by his dreadlocks and color of his skin that he was a criminal. One time at a wealthy Stanford donor’s house, he was helping a man move big furniture and some teammates at Stanford did as well. A neighbor called (the police) because he was a black man in dreads in a wealthy man’s house in the wealthiest part of the Bay Area, and the police showed up with guns drawn. In Sherman’s words and in Cliff Avril’s words, this happens far more often than fans realize.”