BY Art Thiel 01:12PM 03/23/2018

Update: Lawyer says Bennett will surrender

Former Seahawks DE Michael Bennett, traded to the Eagles last week, has been charged with injuring an elderly paraplegic security guard after the Super Bowl in Houston.

DE Michael Bennett was named in a felony indictment for a post-Super Bowl incident in Houston / Seahawks.com

Former Seahawks star DE Michael Bennett is charged with doing a foolish thing in his home town of Houston: Injuring an elderly paraplegic woman who was part of the security team on the field in the moments after the Patriots — including his brother, Martellus — beat the Falcons in the Super Bowl at NRG Stadium in February 2017.

A Harris County grand jury returned a felony indictment against Bennett, who played for five years with the Seahawks before being traded to the Philadelphia Eagles last week.

Sources with the Seahawks and Eagles who weren’t identified told several media outlets that neither club was aware of the episode before the news broke Friday in Houston.

Friday evening the Philadelphia Inquirer was told by Bennett’s new attorney, Rusty Hardin, that Bennett was out of the continental U.S. and would surrender when he returns. Bennett has a home in Hawaii.

Since he had not met Bennett, Hardin said he would refrain from speaking on his behalf. The Eagles told the Inquirer that they were “in the process of gathering more information” and wouldn’t have further comment because it was an “ongoing legal matter.”

The district attorney’s office said Bennett was attempting to get on the field to celebrate with his brother, but was told to use a different entrance. Instead, he pushed past the woman, 66, and other security team members. Police said she was driving an 800-pound motorized cart, and when Bennett pushed her, the cart didn’t move but the force of the shove sprained her shoulder.

The charge of injury to a person over 65 carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. A warrant for his arrest has been issued, and prosecutors were working with his attorney regarding his surrender.

In a press conference, police chief Art Acevedo chastised Bennett’s actions, in which he allegedly forced open closed doors to the field and shoved two other guards in addition the woman in question, and his behavior, which included allegedly shouting, “You all must not know who I am. I could own this motherfucker. I’m going on the field whether you like it or not.”

Said Acevedo: “Mr. Bennett may think that because he’s an NFL player, and because time passed because we have to prioritize our cases, he may have thought, number one, rules don’t apply to him and, number two, he doesn’t respect a dignity of a 66-year-old paraplegic woman trying to make a living.

“It’s very offensive to me that a man who’s supposed to be an an example, a professional athlete, would think it’s OK to treat people like this . . . I don’t know about you, but when you put your hands on a 66-year-old lady, that’s morally bankrupt.”

Houston police posted on Twitter its press conference:

Bennett won Seattle’s Sports Star of the Year award in 2016 and was the Seahawks’ Man of the Year in 2017 for his work in the community. He was also among the player leaders who protested social injustice by sitting or kneeling during the national anthem.

In August, he was detained at gunpoint by Las Vegas police who were investigating a report of shots fired in a casino. Bennett was released after 10 minutes without charges, but later claimed he was racially profiled, a charge strongly denied by police.


YourThoughts

  • Ron

    Hope that trade can’t be rescinded.

  • rosetta_stoned

    Just like the situation in Las Vegas. He’s only being indicted because he’s black.

    • DB

      Perhaps. You may be interested to know that the Houston PD is majority minority. In 2015 the HPD consisted of 53 percent minority officers. Hispanics (like the police Chief), are the largest at 24 percent. African Americans are next with 22 percent.

  • wabubba67

    You are always in trouble that is about to become far worse when you utter the phrase, “Don’t you know who I am?”

    Bennett acted horribly (probably drunkenly?), but is it really appropriate to have a 66 year old, paraplegic woman working security at the Super Bowl? Who is she going to stop?

    • Ron

      According to the police chief, she was driving a “800 pound wheelchair/scooter”. That’s intimidating, like cops on horses.

      • wabubba67

        So, probably a golf cart? I drive through Sun City, AZ all the time…and I’m not scared.

  • The Omnivescent

    So Art thinks it was “foolish.” But then Mr. Thiel always has had a soft spot for certain types on the Seahawks. What he calls “foolish,” in trying to run interference for one of these pieces of filth, others call despicable, even by felony standards. And it looks like the Houston Police Department knows exactly who Bennett is. He did not need to say, “Do you know who I am?” But then these types also generally are not bright.

    • art thiel

      If it’s true, as is likely, Bennett deserves jail and all related public humiliation for being such a fool.

      And you’re up for serious scorn for sweeping, senseless generalities.

      • Will

        Your, hardly neutral, “as is likely” is a one-sided assumption – unless you know more about the case than you’re saying. Of course you’re entitled to your opinion, but as we’ve seen with so-called alt news, fake news… when someone has a pulpit, writing or speaking opinion quickly becomes gospel to many others.

  • Tman

    Kaka

  • Kevin Lynch

    Bennett and Sherman and others on the old tattered Reign of Terror defense will wind up doing some good work with their activism.

    But there is no entitlement. And when you are out of line you will indeed get the hammer.

  • Centiorari

    Bennett really needs to keep himself out of trouble, but what a strange situation. Why is this a criminal case rather than a civil one? Both are possible but usually the criminal case hurts the discovery or jury pool in the civil case against celebrities. Surely a woman that is working security at age 66 would rather have the 20,000 dollars from Bennett than for him to pay 10,000 to the city of Houston and get pleaded down to a misdemeanor with no jail time? Is there something more to the story considering the year long wait by the police to charge thereby hurting the ability to find exculpatory evidence? On a complete side note, the victim has a nice work place injury case against her employer for putting her in a situation that was anticipated (super bowl crowds) and completely inappropriate given her situation.

    • Ron

      It does make me wonder if the timing has anything with the release of his book “Things That Make White People Uncomfortable” set to come out in about a week. With that 20 minute news conference, I would not be surprised if the Houston police wanted to make an example of Bennett following the Las Vegas police episode.

  • PokeyPuff

    question of course is “what did Pete know, and when did he know it” on this matter. Letting Bennett go is looking like a pri-tee darn good call.

  • Theyfinallyfiredcable

    I find it interesting , and enormously suspect , that it took over a year to file charges because “we had to prioritize cases” . Texas isn’t exactly known for being color blind . You mean to tell me there were so many other cases of more import than prosecuting a well known NFL player who’s supposedly accosted a paraplegic ? Crimes must be epidemic in Texas ..

    The whole thing stinks to high heaven . Let’s not condemn the man until he’s found guilty in a court of law . If he is , then he deserves every condemnation . But I’m trying to picture a defensive line behemoth from the NFL shoving his way past an individual in a wheel chair and injuring their shoulder . Hmm … are there medical records documenting this injury ? One off-duty cop says it happened ? Paint me skeptical ; this smells like another money grab to me . Maybe it happened , but if it did I can’t imagine the media didn’t jump on this immediately afterwords .

    • tor5

      If true, Bennett deserves all the shame and punishment. But I’m looking forward to hearing his side. There are indeed some odd facts, least of all the long, secret delay.

      • Ron

        I would expect a mea culpa from Michael and blaming the alcohol.

    • Ron

      This is Texas-sized racism at play. The same week that Austin Police Chief Brian Manley portrayed the white serial bomber as “the outcry of a very challenged young man”, police in Houston were portraying Bennett as some kind monster charged with a felony.

  • Tim

    I despise the whole entitlement mentality. I’ve been a huge Bennett fan both on and off the field–until now. Then again, we must remember that this is Texas we’re talking about here.

    • Centiorari

      I would agree on the entitlement mentality, but how can we really expect them to change? We don’t treat them like everyone else, so why should they get the message that they are like everyone else. He will not be treated like everyone else here, anyone that can afford to pay a TEAM of top lawyers to do nothing but work on their case will warrant, no pun intended, being treated differently by a cash strapped legal system, just a sad fact. Justice is just until you start getting into plead deals.

  • rosetta_stoned

    You all must not know who I am.

    Oh, we know who you are. It’s all too clear to those of us willing to look.

  • Tman

    This story is every bit as believable as the single bullet theory and the 19 Saudis with boxcutters story,..both of which originated in Texas.

  • Effzee

    I have been a big fan of the social stances taken by Seahawks players. I’ve been a big fan of employing intelligent, thoughtful athletes. At this point, however, the Seahawks need fewer volatile edge-walkers with something to prove, and more guys who play for the love of the game.

  • tor5

    The story SO FAR makes Bennett look despicable. Maybe so, but there are two sides to every story. Seems to be a minority of readers here who haven’t made up their mind.

    • John M

      Some of us did jump the gun a little. Not my usual style. There is the matter of time and some outrageous quotes that gets bigger the more you think about it. And you would think there would have been some press people that were aware and leaped upon the incident like starved wolves. Fourteen months and it is Texas. We need to hear more facts . . .

  • Kirkland

    In player personnel terms, are there grounds for the Eagles to seek nullification of the trade for Bennett? Hypothetically, if the Hawks offloaded him to Philly because they knew about this parricular legal cloud, I wouldn’t blame the Eagles for being mad at them and asking for recourse.

    I wonder what kind of language there are in player trades if one team intentionally covered up a legal or even physical/injury issue when making the trade. I read SI.com’s legal expert Michael McCain’s coverage of Bennett’s case, but it focuses on the criminal and legal issues instead of the trade circumstances.

  • Tman

    The story makes no sense. Wouldn’t Bennett would have made himself known at the gate to be certain of easy entry should his brothers team win? Why would he be denied entry in the first place? Told to go to another gate? 66 year old woman driving an 800 lb motorized cart? What for?
    Tons of witnesses?
    No word of any of it until now?

    Makes no sense.

    What does make sense is a vindictive, prejudiced, unabashed war criminal called NFL players who took a knee protesting white policemen shooting unarmed black men to death “Sons of Bitches who ought to be fired”, is seeking retaliation on those who refuse to salute him and the flag he desecrates.

    Would you sing an anthem and salute a flag representing torture and endless war as national policy? Armed Police beating and shooting unarmed citizens?

    Would you sing for Hitler and salute the Nazi flag?

    Perhaps it is time we all take a knee.

    It is time we presume Mr. Bennett innocent until proven guilty. as we did in the good old days of FDR, JFK and RFK when we were, indeed, proud to salute the flag and serve our country as a public service, not a for profit job where uniforms become a license to kill.

    And you thought sports isn’t political.

    Flying Flags, singing Anthems and wearing national flags on uniforms is called “Symbolic Politics”.

    Who is throwing out the first ball this year?

  • Steed

    The Houston PD holds a press conference to announce charges filed against someone who was at the Superbowl, who “pressed past” other people, causing one of them to have a hurt shoulder?

    Is this April fools?