Michael Bennett released a statement today detailing his allegedly unlawful detainment at the hands of Las Vegas police the weekend of the Mayweather-McGregor fight. It was harrowing, although not surprising, given that Michael Bennett is a black man living in the United States in 2017.
— Michael Bennett (@mosesbread72) September 6, 2017
Later in the day, TMZ released video of Bennett being detained, which didn’t do much to contradict Bennett’s story. And now, NFL commisioner Roger Goodell has issued a brief statement as well:
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) September 6, 2017
Even ignoring (if you can) the hypocrisy involved with the head of a league that is currently (effectively, if not collaboratively) blackballing Colin Kaepernick for protesting the exact sort of treatment that Bennett endured in Las Vegas and you’re left with a statement that doesn’t make much of a statement at all.
Sure, there’s the lip service paid to Bennett’s welfare, and the league’s dedication to paying attention to the issues Bennett has long talked about. But then at the end we get the “mutual respect” line, which does quite a bit to undermine whatever goodwill the rest of the statement built up, if any. This particular incident demonstrated how little that means; Michael Bennett was as respectful as possible given the circumstances, and it didn’t matter. Police brutality and racial profiling isn’t an issue that’s going to be solved by an increase in “mutual” respect.
As an example:
"I see no evidence that race played any role in this incident."
— Sporting News (@sportingnews) September 6, 2017
We're watching a video of the incident, being shown by police…it stops once Bennett is caught by police on the street.
— Dugar, Michael-Shawn (@MikeDugar) September 6, 2017
Goodell’s statement continues to put the onus on people like Bennett, who have done nothing apart from being black and being alive, to somehow meet the police officers paid to serve them in the middle when things like this (or worse) happen.
That’s not going to help anything.