Today marks the first Sunday of the NFL season and dozens of players across the league are expected to participate in protests against police violence and white supremacy during the national anthem. Michael Bennett is one of the players protesting and he took his fight for accountability to the next level this week by telling his own story of being unjustly assaulted by Las Vegas police. Michael made his reasons clear at a press conference this week saying:
“There are a lot of people who experience what I experienced at that moment and they are not here to tell their story. I think about Trayvon Martin. I think about Philando Castile, Tamir Rice… People ask why I sit down, and this is why.”
Predictably, Michael has come under attack for having the courage to tell his story. The Las Vegas police union called on the NFL commissioner to investigate Michael and notorious Black Lives Matter hater Sheriff David Clarke is one of hundreds of people who attacked Michael’s character online. Police apologists are going back to the same old playbook of victim blaming but players like Bennett are prepared to stay in the trenches of this fight.
Just as we have been standing with Colin Kaepernick, we’ve got to back up and encourage all the current players taking a stand this week. Black Lives Matter Global Network co-founder Patrisse Cullors started a petition demanding transparency from the Las Vegas police department and it has already been signed by more than 45,000 people. Still, the department refuses to release the over 100 hours of video from that night or the officers’ names, including the officer who held a gun to the back of Michael’s head but now claims he didn’t activate his own body camera. This weekend’s games will come and go but we must stay committed to police accountability.
P.S. Read the original email from Patrisse Cullors below for more details.
Patrisse Cullors-Brignac of Black Lives Matter Global Network just started a petition titled: “Tell Vegas Police Department: Release names of officers that assaulted NFL player Michael Bennett.”
Here’s why this is important:
Patrisse Cullors, Co-Founder of Black Lives Matter Global Network