Black NFL Activist Lied And Libelled Vegas Cops-- But He's The Victim, Okay?
Are you a millionaire athlete in a scrape with the police? Caught in a place where you shouldn’t be? Running from the law when ordered to stay still?
Then dial 1-800- CRY-RACISM. You’ll experience a soft landing from a forgiving media.
That was the strategy of Seattle Seahawks star Michael Bennett this past week in Las Vegas. Bennett was part of a large crowd in a casino around 1:45 AM after the Floyd Mayweather/ Conor McGregor bout when a call came to police about a possible shooter in the building.
According to Bennett, police arrived and singled him out for an aggressive takedown. According to his statement, Bennett was forced to lie on his stomach while being cuffed by cops. “As I laid (sic) on the ground, complying with his demands to not move, he placed his gun near my head and warned me that if I moved he would blow my (expletive) head off.
“Terrified and confused by what was taking place, a second officer came over and forcefully jammed his knee into my back, making it difficult for me to breathe. They then clinched the handcuffs on my wrist so tight that my fingers went numb.
"The officers' excessive use of force was unbearable. I felt helpless as I lay there on the ground handcuffed facing the real life threat of being killed.”
Bennett then dropped his race bomb. “All I could think of is, I’m going to die for no other reason than I am black and somehow my skin color is somehow a threat.” Bennett went on to talk about never seeing his wife and kids again because of racism.
When his “Equality” statement hit last Wednesday, it was accepted uncritically by media who didn’t wait for further details. The story led sportscasts, was picked up on social media and made it into the the evening newscasts. To a constituency eager for lurid stories of police encounters with blacks, this was heaven sent: an articulate, innocent black NFL star targeted for his skin color by racist cops.
The NFL, which is over 70 percent black players, was quick to take up Bennett’s allegation. Commissioner Roger Goodell (who habitually speaks before getting the facts) supported Bennett, calling him the kind of athlete the league is built upon. The NFL Players Association likewise had his back. The Seahawks organization lionized their player.
Except that as quickly as Bennett’s allegations were given credence, the narrative began to fall apart. Video and photos quickly emerged showing that when cops entered the casino, which was filled with other black people, they found Bennett crouching behind a slot machine. Approached, Bennett instead bolted, running out of the casino, leaping a low wall and heading to Las Vegas Boulevard where he was subdued by cops.
Video showed no guns pointed at his head (although police do draw their guns when investigating a shooting call). One of the cops subduing him did have a taser in one hand. Audio shows no example of the threats on his life Bennett claimed had been made. The “eternity” he was held was about 10 minutes.
Further, the “racist” cops were Latino, not white. (For a media that conflated George Zimmerman into a white racist this is an easy exercise). And even if they were racists, why would they tackle one of the biggest black men in the crowd?
In short, in his zeal to play the Black Lives Matter martyr, Bennett had forgotten about the video that now captures almost all police activities. (The arresting officer’s body cam was not turned on, but there are dozens of other videos available.)
Or did he understad that dialling 1-800-CRY-Racism would do the trick of getting him off?
By now, sports media in both the U.S. and Canada were caught, having committed to Bennett’s tale of racism and police brutality. They should have known to get a police version of the event before going full Tayvon Martin. Bennett is well known as a social activist who champions the cause of unemployed NFL QB Colin Kaepernick.
But he’s a glib, entertaining athlete, popular with sports media (who vote over 90 percent Democrat in the U.S.) So they gave him a pass to make a point even though Bennett was clearly lying about the facts from Las Vegas.
Having seen their Pulitzer Prize stories about racist cops dashed, media shifted focus. In a segment before Thursday night’s New England/ Kansas City, NBC reporter Mike Florio never mentioned the bogus racist charge. It was now about whether Bennett had been threatened or treated roughly. Uber-liberal Bob Costas, who never misses a chance to lecture America on NBC about its failings, was oddly silent about Bennett’s incendiary racial allegation.
The Sunday Morning ESPN NFL program was all about Bennett’s trauma as his proxies made him out to be a hero defying racism. Not a word about the Vegas cops who were wrongly labelled racist.FOX TV, meanwhile, continues to give Bennett a digital platform to perpetuate his vision of victimization. Because, you see… he is a victim.
The coverage was pretty standard in the legacy liberal media. Change the subject, distort the lens. Getting both sides used to be the essence of responsible journalism. But in the partisan atmosphere of current reporting, newsrooms are now more like policy think-tanks, churning out opinion when fact is their job.
Bennett will get off untouched by the media establishment, which is wedded to the BLM grievance circus. But while they get a gentle touch from elites, repeated attempts to demonize cops and whites— and sitting out the national anthem— don’t go down as easily with the NFL’s base. While the progressive media offer a crying towel to fellow traveller Bennett, the beer-and-a-shot crowd will ask some other questions.
Why did you not stay in place as did so many others in the casino? Were you hiding from being seen that late in the morning?
Do you think falsely crying racism about Latino cops is a responsible thing for a high-profile NFL star to do?
Why’d you wait four days to make your complaint? Were you put up to it by others?
Most telling, what's a self-advertised family man doing in a Vegas casino at almost 2 AM? Take your time to prepare your answers. Though your media and NFL friends will hide your cupidity, the average NFL fan will want to hear you take responsibility for your own reckless actions.
Bruce Dowbiggin @dowbboy.is the host of the podcast The Full Count with Bruce Dowbiggin on anticanetwork.com. He’s also a regular contributor three-times-a-week to Sirius XM Canada Talks Ch. 167. A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada's top television sports broadcaster, he is also the best-selling author of seven books. His website is Not The Public Broadcaster (http://www.notthepublicbroadcaster.com)