Michael Bennett: Goodell Saying Black Lives Matter ‘Almost’ Like Slap in Face

Dallas Cowboys defensive end Michael Bennett (79) during the first half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

Duane Burleson/Associated Press

Longtime NFL defensive end Michael Bennett isn’t buying the league’s support of the Black Lives Matter movement, especially when it comes to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell

In an interview with Robert Silverman of Daily Beast, Bennett said the following regarding Goodell and the NFL now embracing the fight for racial equality: “[Goodell] saying that Black Lives Matter is almost like a slap in the face. Black talent has been exploited at a high level in the NFL. He knows Black Lives Matter, because without black players the NFL wouldn’t be as lucrative as it is.”

Last week, Goodell declared “Black Lives Matter” and spoke out against systemic racism:


We, the NFL, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of Black People. We, the NFL, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the NFL, believe Black Lives Matter. #InspireChange https://t.co/ENWQP8A0sv

Goodell’s comments came amid widespread protests against racial inequality, police brutality and social injustice across the United States. The killing of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who died while in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25, served as the catalyst for the protests.

Floyd was pronounced dead after Officer Derek Chauvin kept his knee pressed against the back of Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes despite the fact that Floyd said he couldn’t breathe multiple times.

Chauvin was fired, arrested and charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for Floyd’s death. The other three officers on the scene—Thomas Lane, J.A. Keung and Tou Thao—were charged with aiding and abetting.

Bennett alleged that Las Vegas police officers racially profiled him during an incident in August 2017. Officers detained Bennett while looking for an active shooter, and he said they handcuffed him and drew their guns.

After a review of the incident, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo determined that officers acted appropriately and didn’t use excessive force.

Aside from former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, it can be argued that no NFL player has been more outspoken about racism than Bennett.

Kaepernick began the practice of kneeling during the national anthem to protest against racial inequality, and Bennett was among the players who joined his cause. The NFL spoke out against kneeling and compromised in 2018 by allowing players to stay in the locker room for the national anthem.

Bennett, who spent last season with the New England Patriots and Dallas Cowboys, opted to remain in the locker room during the playing of the anthem while with the Patriots but began standing following a trade to Dallas in October.

The 34-year-old Bennett is a three-time Pro Bowler and one-time Super Bowl champion from his time with the Seattle Seahawks. He is currently a free agent.

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