GREEN BAY, Wis. — Martellus Bennett heard from his brother, Michael Bennett, in the immediate aftermath of what happened in Las Vegas on Aug. 27. But when Martellus saw the video for the first time on Wednesday, he had to excuse himself from a meeting room at Lambeau Field, where he and the Green Bay Packers were preparing for Sunday’s season opener against the Seattle Seahawks.
“I didn’t even know there was a video,” Martellus said. “I had to walk out of meetings because I broke down crying, just thinking about what could have happened, what could have been. It was just so close. You never know these days.”
In a 20-minute session with reporters on Wednesday, Martellus spoke at length about Michael, the Seahawks defensive end. By the end, Martellus had tears streaming down his face when he talked about just giving his brother a hug when the two are reunited this weekend before Sunday’s game at Lambeau.
“Sometimes, a hug is the best thing you can give,” Martellus said as his voice cracked. “I mean, I don’t really know, really, you know what I’m saying? I don’t really have the answers. You just think, ‘What if?’ You know? Two seconds this way, two seconds that way, the whole thing is different. So for me, I’ll just be happy to see my brother, because there’s a chance I couldn’t see him.”
Earlier on Wednesday, Michael posted a social media message about the incident in Las Vegas in which he accused police of using excessive force and drawing a gun on him. He wrote that officers pointed guns at him “for doing nothing more than simply being a black man in the wrong place at the wrong time” and ordered him to lie down on the ground.
A video posted Wednesday by TMZ Sports shows a police officer putting handcuffs on Bennett. At one point in the video, Bennett is heard yelling to the officer: “I wasn’t doing nothing, man! I was here with my friends. They told us to get out; everybody ran. Can you answer my question, sir?”
Martellus said he received a call from his brother in the hours shortly following the incident, after the Packers had returned home from a preseason game at Denver. He described Michael as “hysterical” during the phone call and said he just tried to calm him down.
“Michael’s doing well,” Martellus said. “I think the first couple days were really tough. I think he’s doing well. He has a lot of support, a lot of good support, a lot of friends, but he’s doing well.”
Martellus said he supported his brother’s decision to go public with the incident.
“I’m very proud of Michael and the way that he handled it,” Martellus said. “There’s a lot of guys who told him not to say anything. It may be a distraction. You don’t need to say anything. You’re alive, you lived through it, why tell anyone your story? For me, I think that’s the wrong way to go about it. I think his letter, it was eloquent. You had to empathize with the side of the story that he was telling, what happened to him.”
Last month, Martellus offered his support for Michael’s decision not to stand during the national anthem, even though he has not done so. Instead, Martellus released his own political cartoon last month as his own statement on society and race relations.
He said he does not plan any anthem protest for Week 1.
“I like to speak through my art, my words and things like that,” Martellus said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if I draw another political cartoon, or some s—, but other than that, I don’t know right now. I’m more of a spur-of-the-moment type guy, type thing.”
Most of the Bennett family is expected to be in Green Bay this weekend for the Packers-Seahawks game, and Martellus said it’s perfect timing, because though he has spoken to his brother at length since the Las Vegas incident, they haven’t seen each other in person.
“Life goes so fast and seasons go so fast,” he said. “You don’t get to spend as much time with family. So, it’s pretty good to have so much family coming to town this weekend, being able to see him and have dinner with him and talk to him and different things like that — and then go out there and try to kick his ass.”