Roger Goodell said Wednesday in New York that he would like all players to stand for the national anthem. Seahawks DE Michael Bennett said in Renton that he will disappoint the NFL commissioner.
“I plan on sitting down,” he said his weekly podium turn at Seahawks HQ. “Like I’ll continue to do what I’ve been doing and the consequences are the consequences.”
But Goodell proposed no consequences for sitting, unlike one of his bosses. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones last week threatened to bench any Dallas player who protested. Bennett had a pointed thought for Jones.
“I think it’s crazy,” Bennett said. “It’s inconsiderate of a person being a human being. It reminded me of the Dred Scott case. You are property, so you don’t have the ability to be a person first. In this generation, I think that sends the wrong message to young people all across the world, that your employer doesn’t see you as a human being; they see you as a piece of property.
“If that’s the case, then I don’t get it. I just don’t get why you don’t see them as a human being and don’t see us as human beings first.”
Bennett also offered up another provocative thought. Before NFL players talk further with club owners about addressing social injustice in a meaningful way, unemployed QB Colin Kaepernick needs to get a chance to play in the NFL. It was Kaepernick who began the protests at the start of the 2016 season by sitting during the national anthem.
“I think before we even negotiate anything — should we sit or should we stand — there should be a negotiation about opening up the doors for Colin Kaepernick and giving him the opportunity again,” he said. “That’s been lost. I feel like all of us are having the opportunities to speak to our employers, but then to think about the guy who started everything not to be able to have a voice at this moment, it just doesn’t seem very right to me.”
The NFL is highly unlikely to require a team to hire Kaepernick, for all the obvious reasons. Just as obviously, players such as Bennett and teammate Richard Sherman believe the former 49ers star is being blacklisted. In the off-season, the Seahawks were the only team to interview him. Nothing came of it, coach Pete Carroll indicating he thought Kaepernick wanted a chance to start.
“If you look at the quarterbacks playing in the NFL right now, among the backups, I can’t name one better than him,” Bennett said. “If it can happen to one of our own, how can we fight for what we want? We need to protect the people who play next to us. That’s something we need to make sure we get across to the owners.
“A guy who brought it up can’t get sacrificed and not be able to have the opportunity to play again.”
By the way, a football game looms Sunday in New Jersey between the 1-5 Giants and the 3-2 Seahawks, a five-point favorite. Despite a plantar fascia (heel) injury to his right foot in the 16-10 win over the Rams, Bennett says he plans to power through the pain.
“As many years as I’ve played in the NFL, you deal with pain as you go through,” he said. “It’s just being able to focus on the game and not too much worry about it, because once you make that decision to play, then you have to play through it.”
Carroll: Avril headed to injured reserve list; perhaps retirement?
Cliff Avril is headed to the injured reserve list, according to coach Pete Carroll, as the defensive end considers retirement after an Oct. 1 neck injury against the Colts that has kept him out since.
During an interview on Sirius XM radio, Carroll said Avril will go on IR while “seeing a bunch of doctors, seriously looking at a big decision.”
The injured reserve list requires a player to remain out for eight weeks. That could mean a return in the regular season. But the nature of the stinger injury, which caused his hands to temporarily go numb after a kick in the chin snapped back his head, and his age (31), suggest that the threat of further injury may be too great.
Defensive coordinator Kris Richard, who had good results from DE Frank Clark’s start in Avril’s place — a sack, three tackles and a fumble caused against the Rams — is eager to have Avril with the team in any capacity.
“There isn’t anything concrete or in stone that has been settled,” he said. “If we get him, man, that will certainly be awesome; that’s a huge piece to our puzzle. If not, we have to make sure we really carry on what he and others have started.
“The standard is there. The guys understand it. He’s going to be in the room, he’s not going to abandon us. We just have to make sure to utilize him for all that he has – all the experience, all the knowledge.”