Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett created national headlines yesterday after he tweeted out a statement about his arrest following the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor boxing match in Las Vegas.
At 1:30 a.m., on August 27, officers responding to a shots fired call (which later was determined to be unfounded) at the Cromwell Las Vegas Hotel & Casino temporarily took Bennett into custody because, the tweet maintained, he was a black man who was “in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
The NFL and the sports industry generally have expressed strong support for Bennett and his allegations of racial profiling. Clay Travis of Fox Sports Radio has registered a dissenting view, however, assailing the sports media for a rush to judgment and accusing the player of lying about what happened.
The Seattle Seahawks originally signed Bennett — who is currently sitting during the national anthem in pre-game ceremonies — as an undrafted free agent in 2009. The team waived him later that same year, and he was claimed off waivers by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He resigned with the Seahawks in March, 2013, as an unrestricted free agent, and last year he inked a three-year contract extension with the team.
In response to the controversy, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department released a bodycam video (embedded below) of the dramatic and chaotic situation that night, as a squad of officers is deployed into the venue, and which apparently also shows at the very end Bennett being taken into custody. Cops allege that Bennett was hiding near a slot machine when they entered the casino, started running from them, and jumped over a wall in an attempt to evade them.
With that in mind, in a long post at his Outkick the Coverage blog, Clay Travis accused Michael Bennett of being untruthful about what went down in Vegas.
“…If police wanted to arrest black people, there were literally hundreds of them exiting the casino and receiving no molestation at all. Why was Bennett, a black man, among hundreds of black people singled out because of his race? Indeed, once you watch this video Bennett’s allegation that he was picked out because he’s black is downright laughable. In fact, it’s so laughable that Bennett’s own attorney has acknowledged race had absolutely nothing to do with his treatment from the police. The saddest part of this story, however, remains Michael Bennett, who claims he is protesting the national anthem because of police treatment of minorities. By lying about his own treatment by police, Bennett further poisons the relationship between police and minorities and makes it even less likely that actual mistreatment of police by minorities will be believed.”
At the above-referenced press conference, LVMPD Undersheriff Kevin McMahill noted that the two officers involved in the encounter with Michael Bennett were of Hispanic heritage and that the NFL player was detained for just 10 minutes and released.
Although apparently there is no up-close bodycam footage of the detention, the sheriff added that there are 100-plus casino videos that investigators need to review, and they also asked the public to submit any cellphone videos that might have been recorded that night.
TMZ posted a short video of Michael Bennett in handcuffs.
Separately, the Las Vegas police union has asked the NFL to investigate Michael Bennett under its personal conduct policy for his allegedly false racial profiling accusations. The NFL has rejected that request, however, USA Today reported. Cops are currently investigating whether Bennett was involved in some kind of altercation in Drai’s Nightclub at the same location, the news outlet added.
In June, former lawyer Clay Travis claimed that given the lack of actual evidence, the racist graffiti vandalism outside NBA superstar LeBron James’ Los Angeles home might have been a hoax.
Travis further weighed in on the Michael Bennett arrest during his NSFW Outkick the Show Periscope broadcast today in which he claimed, among other things, that the sports media is protecting Bennett because liberal sports journalists want him to be a victim of police racism irrespective of the facts.
When all the dust settles, do you think that the version of events offered by Michael Bennett about what occurred at the Las Vegas casino will be validated contrary to Clay Travis’ assertions?
[Featured Image by David Goldman/AP Images]