Michael Bennett: A lot of people have experienced what I did, and they aren’t here to tell their story
Michael Bennett addressed reporters Wednesday afternoon, hours after he posted an open letter to Twitter detailing a disturbing encounter with Las Vegas police during which he was subjected to excessive use of force by a police officer.
“A lot of people of color have dealt with this before,” Bennett said. “And I hate that it happened to me, but I’m lucky to be in the situation to have the platform to continuously speak on injustice.”
Bennett said he told his family, teammates and head coach Pete Carroll about the incident after it happened in late August. After seeking advice about how to handle it, Bennett ultimately decided to make a public statement.
“There’s a lot of people who experience what I experienced in that moment,” Bennett said. “And they’re not here to tell their story.
“It’s an emotional moment for me. I know a lot of people are like, ‘Oh, did he want this on himself?’ I didn’t ask for this moment. It just happened to be me… any moment, I could have made the wrong decision. Whether move or (make the officer feel) like I was resisting or doing something wrong, and (the Seahawks) would be wearing… the patch with the No. 72 on it.”
A clearly emotional Bennett stood at the podium at Seahawks headquarters in Renton and fielded questions for nearly seven minutes before pausing during a question about his family.
The question was about a statement he made last year about being a black man in America – how even great accomplishments or fame cannot protect or make people of color immune from racism, racial profiling or police brutality.
“I try to tell my daughters every single day that they matter, and that…” Bennett said, before quietly walking out of the auditorium.
Cornerback Richard Sherman, who spoke to reporters shortly after Bennett’s exit, said Bennett’s own encounter is evidence in itself for the causes Bennett publicly supports — including his controversial decision to sit during the national anthem.
“Mike is literally sitting, taking a stand, doing everything he can to combat the same thing that he experienced,” Sherman said.
“And people are so worried about him sitting down during the national anthem that they completely miss that message a lot of the time. They want to be more angry at the action than the message. And that’s an unfortunate part of the world we live in nowadays. I wish that people would take it for what it is and make a difference.”