Michael Bennett and the Seattle Seahawks rank an anemic 26th in total offense and a decidedly average 15th in total defense after the first two weeks of NFL action.
One area where they’re ranked an undisputed first? On-field protests.
Bennett, 31, became the first — and so far only — player to take his political protests onto the field when he raised his right fist as a “Black Power” salute following a sack in his team’s 12-9 win over the San Francisco 49ers.
Michael Bennett celebrated a sack against the 49ers with a raised fist. pic.twitter.com/J46niolm4G
— SB Nation (@SBNation) September 17, 2017
Bennett sacked 49ers quarterback Brian Hoyer late in the second quarter, just before the two-minute warning. It was his only sack of the game. Bennett has two sacks on the season.
This could be a worst-case scenario for the NFL. While the NFL’s upper management surely want political protests to take a backseat to the actual game, things are moving in the wrong direction for them.
Previously, political protests of various sizes had been taking place prior to the game, during the traditional pregame recital of the national anthem. While those generate coverage, the broadcast networks generally don’t cover the playing of the anthem at every game.
Now Bennett has ostensibly opened the floodgates for political protests to take place during the course of the game itself.
Clearly, this would only intensify the public microscope that is scrutinizing the NFL.
And if anything, the Seahawks seem to be emboldening Bennett. He received his own introduction during the pregame, and received one of the louder ovations for the players being introduced.
Despite the ovation in Seattle, however, the overwhelming majority of NFL fans watch sports to escape from the problems of the real world, not be reminded of it. Sports is supposed to be a form of entertainment that is a respite.
Bennett sat for the duration of the national anthem on Sunday, as he has done all year long. Teammates Justin Britt and Thomas Rawls stood near him while he was sitting as a show of solidarity.
Bennett has recently been in the headlines for an incident with the Las Vegas Metro Police Department. He claims that it was an issue of police brutality and racial profiling, which the LVMPD has vociferously denied. Bennett and his lawyer have since threatened to levy a lawsuit against the LVMPD.
The Seahawks (1-1) travel to the Tennessee Titans for Week 3 of the NFL regular season.
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