Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett was the second professional football player this season to pick up in protest where Colin Kaepernick left off. He not only parked himself on the sidelines in a tantrum about oppression, while earning millions to simply show up, but he vowed to repeat his protest throughout the season.
Bennett’s former teammate Marshawn Lynch did the same on the Raiders this past weekend and it’s been a series of public fallout for these players throughout the week. Some support them, but many do not and have promised to boycott watching the sport for the season.
Two coaches from other teams have spoken out about this behavior in the days since Lynch and Bennett made their point. Head coaches for the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers, who Bennett’s brother plays for, don’t have these problems on their team. These leaders run an operation with a different level of respect for the country, team, their franchise, and the sport as a whole.
However, Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll has been strangely silent about Bennett and his protesting until now.
We already know that the NFL commissioner isn’t going to do anything about these protests by way of punishing players who mix politics into sports where it doesn’t belong. Commissioner Roger Goodell took the athletes’ sides, defending their actions and telling fans to be “more understanding” of their message. So, just how understanding is Carroll who has the problem on his team?
In a stunning turn of events, Carroll is much like the coaches of the Packers and Cowboys who think that every player should stand for the anthem. On Tuesday, he made an announcement that probably isn’t going to sit well with Bennett who parked his backside on the bench during the preseason opener game.
Although he supports Bennett’s right to make a statement, there’s a catch with that.
“I support the heck out of (Bennett’s) concerns and his issues and all that,” Carroll said, according to USA Today. “When it comes to it, I love our country, and I think we should all stand when the flag is represented. His heart is in the right place — he’s going to do great work well after the time he’s with us — and it’s easy for me to support him in his issues. But I think we should all be standing up when we’re playing the national anthem.”
Bennett was probably hoping his coach and his team to be completely on board with what he was saying while he was sitting out. While Carroll supports his player’s right to an opinion, he still thinks people should show respect for the flag. As long as the defensive end doesn’t do more to disrupt the team or organization, then he can make his statement all he wants.
As long as the defensive end doesn’t do more to disrupt the team or organization, then he can make his statement all he wants. “In discussing players’ expressions of individuality, Carroll said that he ‘couldn’t support that more,’” USA Today reported. “But he added the needs of the organization also had to be taken into consideration.”
“We celebrate the uniqueness of our players in every way that we can, as long as they toe the line and fit in with this football team,” Carroll said. “We are not scattered in our views. We’re not disconnected. We’re a very connected group, and I think we’ve demonstrated that over the years.
Although Carroll is tiptoeing a bit around the issues on his team, he’s presenting a pretty novel idea for players to consider that needs to be looked at across the NFL. “Players should consider the needs of the organization that is signing their paychecks instead of comparing them to slave owners as some of the more radical pro-Kaepernick voices have done,” Downtrend explained of Carroll’s stance on the matter.
Bennett’s antics could get worse before they go away since he called for white players to start joining in his protest and help his disrespect the country. This doesn’t look like he’s really taking his team, coach, or organization that seriously since he’s intent on perpetuating this divisiveness.
I guess Carroll will just have to see what the season brings for Bennett if he’ll continue to put himself before what’s best for the Seahawks, even if there’s nobody there to watch it.