Ex-NFL Player Michael Bush Discusses Encounter with DEA Agents While Walking Dog

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistOctober 23, 2020

Oakland Raiders running back Michael Bush (29) against the Detroit Lions in an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 18, 2011.  (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
Paul Sakuma/Associated Press

Former NFL running back Michael Bush opened up about a recent encounter he had with Drug Enforcement Administration agents while walking his dogs. 

In an interview with Lucas Aulbach of the Louisville Courier-Journal, Bush called the situation one of those "things that we go through as Black men, being where we're from."

Bush said that he made it through the situation by following steps he's learned throughout his life: "Answer questions, and you get to go home. You listen, comply, do what you've got to do—just to get home."

According to Aulbach, three cars with DEA agents pulled up to stop Bush on Sept. 30. They didn't identify themselves and were looking for a man who "carries a gun and had promised he wouldn't go down without a fight."

Bush explained the agents were "grabbing and reaching—you know, 'Hands behind your back'—and I'm like, 'Nah, you all got the wrong dude today. This ain't going down this way.'

"I'm like 'What, did somebody call you all?' They said 'No, you fit the description.' Of who? Of what? There's nobody in this area that looks like me. There's nobody in this area that's built like me."

Later that day, the agents apologized to Bush, telling him he "looked like a drug suspect they'd been seeking." He told the agents "they should have been more sure about who they were approaching and asked why a supposed criminal would be out walking a couple of dogs through a neighborhood in the middle of the afternoon."

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Even though Bush did listen to the DEA's apology, he said he felt "torn between two sides" about the situation. 

"I understand the officers acting how they had to act because they have to get home to see their families," Bush said. "And I understand how I felt because at the same time, the biggest thing is I complied with them—you've got to do what you do also to get home. So it's a 50-50 thing, right?"

DEA spokesman Kevin McWilliams later issued a statement: 

"Our agents are expected to be professional and respectful during any operation or investigation, while also ensuring the safety of the public, as well as themselves. Our understanding is that this unfortunate case of mistaken identity was handled appropriately; the agents went to great lengths to explain their actions and genuinely apologize, and that both Mr. Bush and the agents walked away from their encounter without further incident or concerns. That's what we strive for."

Bush lives in Louisville, Kentucky, after playing college football at the University of Louisville from 2003-06. 

After graduating from college, Bush was a fourth-round pick by the Oakland Raiders in the 2007 NFL draft. He played a total of seven seasons in the NFL with the Raiders (2007-11), Chicago Bears (2012-13) and Arizona Cardinals (2014).