We the undersigned proudly stand with NFL player and freedom fighter Michael Bennett, as he faces absurd, curiously timed, and deadly serious assault charges in Houston, Texas.
Bennett faces an outrageous ten years behind bars for an incident that took place 14 months ago, accused of pushing someone in a wheelchair at the Super Bowl.
We strongly question the veracity of these charges, given that the police have produced no video, despite the presence of cameras on the scene, and that no arrest was made at the time, despite police officers ringing the Super Bowl field.
We also question the timing of these charges, taking place as Michael has become more widely recognized as an outspoken opponent of police brutality and corruption and is about to release a book in which he speaks about why he chose to protest police violence and racial inequality during the national anthem over the course of the 2017 NFL season.
We also know our history and understand that this is what police, prosecutors, and politicians do to Black people who stand up: they try to tear them down. We demand that these charges be dropped, so Michael Bennett can get back to his life and important work.
John Carlos, 1968 Olympic medalist and author of The John Carlos Story
Angela Y. Davis, author of Freedom is a Constant Struggle
Danny Glover, actor and activist
Cornel West, author, Race Matters; Professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy, Harvard Divinity School
Etan Thomas, ten-year NBA veteran and author of We Matter: Athletes and Activism
Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, author of From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation
Arundhati Roy, author of The Ministry of Utmost Happiness
Naomi Klein, author of No Is Not Enough
Noura Erakat, human-rights attorney and assistant professor at George Mason University
Mike Davis, author of Prisoners of the American Dream
Eve Ewing, author of Electric Arches
Aja Monet, poet and author of My Mother Was a Freedom Fighter
Craig Hodges, ten-year NBA veteran and author of Long Shot: The Triumphs and Struggles of an NBA Freedom Fighter
Shaun King, columnist for The Intercept
Kevin Powell, activist, public speaker, writer, and co-founder of BK Nation
Devin Allen, photographer and author of A Beautiful Ghetto
Mahmoud Abdul Rauf, nine-year NBA veteran
Christopher Petrella, Director of Advocacy, Antiracist Research & Policy Center and Professor at American University
Dave Zirin, co-author of Things That Make White People Uncomfortable