Martellus Bennett brought to tears after seeing video of police incident involving his brother Michael.
Michael Bennett detailed a harrowing encounter with Las Vegas police that took place on Aug. 26, after attending the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor fight. Bennett says he heard gunshots as he was walking back to his hotel and as he and others began to flee the area, police “singled” him out. Bennett ended up on the ground with police pointing a gun at him for “nothing more than being a black man in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
The police have disputed Bennett’s claims of racial profiling, but video footage of the incident left his brother, Packers tight end Martellus Bennett, shaken.
The brothers talked in the immediate aftermath of the Michael Bennett’s run-in with authorities in Las Vegas, but Martellus had to excuse himself from a meeting Wednesday after viewing the video for the first time.
“I didn’t even know there was a video,” Martellus said. “I had to walk out of meetings because I broke down crying, just thinking about what could have happened, what could have been. It was just so close. You never know these days.”
Martellus Bennett spoke with reporters for 20 minutes and by the end tears were streaming down his face, according to ESPN.com’s Rob Demovsky.
“Sometimes, a hug is the best thing you can give,” Martellus said as his voice cracked. “I mean, I don’t really know, really — you know what I’m saying? I don’t really have the answers. You just think, ‘What if?’ You know? Two seconds this way, two seconds that way, the whole thing is different. So for me, I’ll just be happy to see my brother, because there’s a chance I couldn’t see him.”
Michael Bennett has knelt during the national anthem this season to protest social injustice.
“[The violence in] Charlottesville was the tipping point for me,” Bennett told CNN last month after the violent “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, left one woman dead and 19 injured. “To see so much hate. … There was no way I could go out there and hide behind the game.”
On Wednesday, the Seahawks defender explained why he continues to protest.
“I have always held a strong conviction that protesting or standing up for justice is just simply, the right thing to do,” Bennett explained in a tweet. “This fact is unequivocally, without question why before every game I sit during the national anthem — because equality doesn’t live in this country and no matter how much money you make, what job title you have, or how much you give, when you are seen as a ‘N*****,’ you will be treated that way.”
Martellus Bennett says he does not plan to protest ahead of the Packers’ regular-season opener — “I like to speak through my art, my words and things like that” — but fully supports his brother.
“I’m very proud of Michael and the way that he handled it,” Martellus continued. “There’s a lot of guys who told him not to say anything. It may be a distraction. You don’t need to say anything. You’re alive, you lived through it, why tell anyone your story? For me, I think that’s the wrong way to go about it. I think his letter, it was eloquent. You had to empathize with the side of the story that he was telling, what happened to him.”