NFL star Michael Bennett was indicted by a grand jury Friday for allegedly shoving a paraplegic woman while trying to rush onto the field to celebrate with his brother during last year's Super Bowl, KPRC-TV reported.
The woman suffered a sprained shoulder when Bennett allegedly pushed the back of her 800-pound, motorized wheelchair, according to the report.
Prosecutors alleged Benne pushed through security personnel to reach the field, and that included the 66-year-old woman in a wheelchair. A stadium employee reportedly told Bennett to use a different entrance to the field. He also allegedly pushed another woman and ignored a request by a police officer to stop, the report stated.
As Bennett barreled through the crowd, he allegedly said to the people he pushed: "You all must know who I am and I can own this (expletive). I'm going down to the field, whether you like it or not."
What was he charged with?
Bennett was charged with injury of the elderly, a felony that carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Bennett, 32, was acquired earlier this month by the Philadelphia Eagles. He made headlines last year for sitting during the National Anthem and urging his Seattle Seahawks teammates to participate. Bennett supported Colin Kaepernick, who first started the protest reportedly aimed at raising awareness about racial injustice.
At a news conference, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo called Bennett "morally bankrupt" for his alleged actions. Acevedo said he finds it offensive that a man who is looked up to as a professional athlete "would think that it’s OK to treat people like this."
He added: "Mr. Bennett may think that because he's an NFL player and some time passed ... he may have thought that, number one, rules don't apply to him, number two, he doesn't have to respect the dignity of a paraplegic woman who's trying to earn a living."
A video taken by Bennett's sister and posted on Twitter reportedly shows the two running onto the field to greet their brother, Martellus Bennett, a player for the New England Patriots. The clip provided shows no indication that anyone tried to stop them.
This video doesn’t show the alleged felony committed by Michael Bennett but it does show his sister, Ashley Bennett… https://t.co/SooKvk34i1— Brandon Lee Gowton (@Brandon Lee Gowton)1521906215.0
The indictment prompted a warrant to be issued for Bennett's arrest. Prosecutors are working with Bennett's attorney regarding his surrender, according to published reports.
What did the Eagles say?
The Eagles issued the following statement: "We are aware of the situation involving Michael Bennett and are in the process of gathering more information. Because this is an ongoing legal matter, we will have no further comment at this time."
The Eagles acquired Bennett from the Seattle Seahawks, "where he became one of the dominant defensive linemen in the game," KPRC reported. Bennett has three years remaining on his contract, with a base salary of $1.65 million in 2018. His salary is set to jump to $6 million in 2019 and then to $7.5 million in 2020, according to the report.
From Michael Bennett’s little sister: https://t.co/4UWKkGAK2R— Brandon Lee Gowton (@Brandon Lee Gowton)1521841376.0