The NFL tersely rejected a demand by the union representing Las Vegas police to investigate Michael Bennett’s comments included a claim of racial profiling.
The Las Vegas Police Protective Association Metro, Inc., the union that represents the city’s police, released a letter to Roger Goodell Thursday that urges the NFL commissioner to conduct an investigation and take “appropriate action” against Seahawks DE Michael Bennett for making “obviously false and defamatory claims against our officers.”
Bennett issued a statement Wednesday in which he said Las Vegas police used excessive force, pointed a gun at his head and threatened to shoot him during an incident following the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor fight Aug. 26, which Bennett attended.
Police detained Bennett while it investigated whether he was a suspect in a reported shooting. After police determined there had been no shooting and verified Bennett’s identity, Bennett was released. Bennett, who said he was singled out “for doing nothing more than simply being a black man in the wrong place at the wrong time,” also said he was considering filing a federal civil-rights lawsuit.
The union’s letter, written by union president Steve Grammas, stated that police had “reasonable” grounds to detain Bennett until it determined he had done nothing wrong, and added that Bennett’s claim that the officers are racist is “false and offensive to the men and women of law enforcement.”
Las Vegas police undersheriff Kevin McMahill told reporters that his officers responded to a report of an active shooter situation at The Cromwell Las Vegas Hotel & Casino around 1:30 a.m. Aug. 27. Bennett was detained, McMahill said, because Bennett was seen “crouched down behind a gaming machine” before Bennett ran and hopped a fence.
The letter also mentioned Bennett’s decision to sit during the national anthem and said, “While the NFL may condone Bennett’s disrespect for our American Flag, and everything it symbolizes, we hope the League will not ignore Bennett’s false accusations against our officers.”
“I hope to have a discussion with Commissioner Goodell so we can have a conversation about these allegations that our officers are racist and racially profiled Mr. Bennett,” Grammas told USA Today. “We don’t like players from the National Football League making false allegations, which, I feel, is a violation of the NFL’s personal conduct policy.”
Later Wednesday, the NFL office released a shortly statement spurning the union request, saying it would not investigate because there was no violation of league policy.
“There is no allegation of a violation of the league’s personal conduct policy and therefore there is no basis for an NFL investigation,” the statement read.