More details have emerged concerning the arrest of Philadelphia Eagle Michael Bennett, who was accused of assaulting an elderly employee of Houston’s NRG Stadium during last year’s Super Bowl.
Bennett was arrested 14 months after the alleged incident that occurred during Super Bowl LI, but details about the incident have been scarce. However, a report published by USA Today has uncovered several new wrinkles in the case.
Early reports noted that Bennett was charged with assaulting a 66-year-old, wheelchair-bound stadium employee, but new details suggest he was actually suspected of assaulting a second woman, as well.
According to a police report, Bennett, 32, was also initially accused of assaulting a 28-year-old employee of NRG Stadium.
“Both complainants were assaulted by the suspect,” the officer wrote in his February 5, 2017 report. “One suspect. No arrest. No injuries.”
Police responded when Bennett was alleged to have shoved several security staffers, including the 66-year-old woman who was in a motorized chair, when they told him to enter the field using a different entrance. Bennett reportedly told the security personnel that he was going onto the field to celebrate with his brother, New England Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett, and there was nothing they could do to stop him.
Bennett was not charged with assaulting the 28-year-old employee, but he was hit with a charge against the elderly employee. In Texas, injury to an elderly person carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
The elderly employee’s attorney said that his client suffered a shoulder injury in the incident.
Saying the woman, who has remained nameless in reports, was not seeking publicity, attorney Mike Johanson said: “She was trying to do her job and got hurt.”
The victim also did not want to make any other public statements. “I have to respect the legal process, so I can’t really say anything more,” she told USA Today
Johanson has not ruled out filing a lawsuit against Bennett, but there is a two-year statute of limitations on such an action.
Bennett’s attorney, though, insists that the claims made about the incident are a “misunderstanding or a gross exaggeration.”
“Whatever happened, he wasn’t the one (who pushed the staffers),” Hardin exclaimed.
Bennett had 8 ½ sacks in 2017 adding up to 54 during his nine-year NFL career. With a current base salary of $1.65 million in 2018, Bennett has three more years on his contract with the Eagles. By 2019 his earnings will jump to $6 million and then to $7.5 million by 2020.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.