SBD/September 8, 2017/NFL Season Preview

NFL Will Not Follow Las Vegas Police Request To Investigate Allegations By Michael Bennett

The NFL will not "investigate allegations of excessive force" made by Seahawks DE Michael Bennett against the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department stemming from an Aug. 26 incident, according to Blake Apgar of the LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL. NFL VP/Communications Brian McCarthy in an email said there was "no allegation of a violation of the league’s personal conduct policy" that would have garnered an investigation. Las Vegas Police Protective Association President Steve Grammas "sent a letter earlier Thursday to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell asking for an investigation into Bennett’s 'obvious false allegations'" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 9/8). NFLPA Exec Dir DeMaurice Smith prior to the NFL's statement responded to the police union's demand, saying, "There are no grounds for the NFL to investigate our union rep, and I look forward to Roger confirming the same" (, 9/7). In Seattle, Larry Stone writes after Bennett on Wednesday detailed the incident, people likely were "shocked, angered and saddened, as I was -- as any compassionate human would be." However, Stone has a "strong hunch" that people "saw this incident through the prism" of their own previously held beliefs. Stone: "People are hunkered down on this issue -- as they are on so many issues in our increasingly divided society -- and I doubt many were moved to change their opinion. I hope I’m wrong. But it’s like there are two different realities taking place in our world, and each side is dumbfounded that the other isn’t seeing the same one they do" (SEATTLE TIMES, 9/8).

LIVING EXAMPLE OF PROTESTS: THE UNDEFEATED’s Jason Reid notes Bennett, one of the "leading voices in pushing player protests forward,” is now a "symbol of what the battle for racial equality is all about.” NFL players, whose protests had “already expanded during the preseason, now have another reason to demonstrate in an effort to change minds.” Stephen Green, the President of civil rights group The People’s Consortium, said that the situation Bennett described is a “textbook example of what Kaepernick, Bennett and other players strive to change, and that’s why the NFL has become the new front line in the battle for racial equality.” Green: “It shows how important it is for NFL players to shine a light on this pervasive culture. With the protests we continue to see, that’s what players are doing. And it’s only getting bigger.” Broncos LB Brandon Marshall, who knelt during the anthem last season, said, “Some people want to say it’s wrong, or we’re just doing it without any real thought behind it. But with what happened to Bennett, now they see what really goes into this. Now they see why we’re working to change things. Or at least you hope they now see and understand” (, 9/8).

MAKING THE RIGHT MOVE: NBC Sports’ Chris Simms said Goodell's statement showing support for Bennett is "more of a realization that they better show some compassion for their players, especially the African-American players who are extremely passionate about this certain subject." Simms: "It was a classy move by Roger Goodell to show some support for a guy like Michael Bennett and acknowledge the situation. Also, I think they realized this is Michael Bennett, one of the smarter players in all of football. His dad served in the military. He's not a guy looking to throw assumptions or something to just stick it on the wall. I think once they saw this happened, they had to come out to make some statement to show a little compassion to all the African-American players in the NFL” (“The Happy Hour,” NBC Sports Bay Area, 9/7).
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