Michael Bennett, the defensive end and national anthem protester who made headlines last year when he accused Las Vegas police of racial discrimination after a chase, has been indicted with pushing an elderly disabled woman in an incident at the 2017 Super Bowl, according to KHOU-TV.
A Harris County grand jury indicted the defensive back on Friday on a felony charge of injury of the elderly. Prosecutors allege that he shoved a 66-year-old paraplegic worker at Super Bowl LI in Houston’s NRG Stadium in February of 2017.
Bennett, now with the Philadelphia Eagles, was in the stadium to watch his brother Martellius Bennett, a tight end with the New England Patriots.
When the Patriots won the game in overtime over the Atlanta Falcons, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo says that Bennett tried to force his way onto the field even though officials saw no more room for anyone to enter safely. There were also questions over whether Bennett had the proper credentials to enter the playing field.
Officials tried to stop the the 6-foot-4 Bennett, but he barged through locked doors and then accosted two female security workers, including one paralyzed from the waist down.
As was making his way onto the field, the 274-pound Bennett allegedly pushed the 66-year-old paralyzed security worker so hard she sprained her shoulder.
When a police officer tried to intervene, Bennett reacted with the same dignity and respect for authority that one might expect from such a gentleman.
“(Bennett) said, ‘F*** you,’ and walked past (the officer) on the field,” Chief Acevedo alleged. “’Y’all must know who I am, and I can own this m***** f*****. I’m going on to the field whether you like it or not.’ Those are quotes.”
Alas, Bennett’s ability to own that, ahem, playing field didn’t stop the jury for indicting him on the charge of injury to the elderly, which involves intentional bodily injury to an individual 65 or older. While the possible $10,000 fine probably isn’t too much of a worry for Mr. Bennett, the 10-year jail sentence it can carry definitely may be.
“I’m grateful that a guy who decides to push a 66-year-old black female paraplegic little old woman that’s trying to make a living making a fraction of what he’s making not only did they have to put up with his verbal abuse but had to put up with his physical assault,” Chief Acevedo said.
You may perhaps not be surprised that this is not Bennett’s first run-in with the police. Back in September of 2017, Bennett claimed he was the victim of police brutality after an incident in Las Vegas “for doing nothing more than being a black man in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
The incident happened after another major sporting event, the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor fight on Aug. 27. Body cam footage released by Las Vegas Metro Police quickly proved Bennett was little more than a social justice fabulist; Bennett was apprehended by police after running from a casino where they were searching for an active shooter.
As for Bennett’s claim that an officer threatened to blow his head off, there seems to have been absolutely no evidence to back this up.
Bennett was also one of the higher-profile anthem protesters during his time with the Seattle Seahawks. In September of 2017, the 32-year-old Bennett said that he was doing so because he was “challenging people spiritually.”
In January, Bennett also announced he would be co-authoring a book to be released in April called “Things that Make White People Uncomfortable.” Given that it’s co-authored by The Nation’s very white Dave Zirin, one assumes the target audience was the kind of self-important white liberal who finds a book called “Things that Make White People Uncomfortable” hilarious and buying it an act of #resistance.
I have a good idea for a sequel, should the book be successful: “Things that Make Everyone Uncomfortable.” Number one: pushing paraplegic 66-year-old women, which his new team — the Philadelphia Eagles — seem awfully uncomfortable with.
Eagles Statement on Michael Bennett: We are aware of the situation involving Michael Bennett and are in the process of gathering more information. Because this is an ongoing legal matter, we will have no further comment at this time.
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) March 23, 2018
Number two: Losing lots of money. That’s probably what Bennett stands to do if things go very badly for him. He’s in the midst of a five-year, $40 million contract, according to The Daily Caller. If he gets convicted, even if he somehow avoids prison, there’s a pretty good chance the Eagles can get out of paying most of it. Sports and Entertainment Law Insider notes that Section 11 of the standard NFL player contract states that “if Player has engaged in personal conduct reasonably judged by Club to adversely affect or reflect on Club, then Club may terminate this contract.” Pushing elderly paraplegics again seems to fall under the aegis of this.
If you think that clubs aren’t wont to exercise this out clause, just ask Ray Rice.
Oh, and brings me to number three: prison. While plenty of spiritual revivals have occurred and/or good books have been written from within the walls of penitentiaries, most people tend to find them a drag. And Michael Bennett could be facing 10 years in one.
While I have doubts he’ll end up serving that long, I’m guessing there’s a good shot he’ll have plenty of time to write that follow-up.
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