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Seahawks Writer: Michael Bennett Used His Platform To Better Society

March 08, 2018 - 9:13 am

The Seahawks traded defensive end Michael Bennett and a seventh-round pick to the Eagles for wide receiver Marcus Johnson and a fifth-round pick Wednesday, thus ending Bennett’s wildly successful tenure in Seattle. Bennett had 39.0 sacks in five seasons with Seattle and helped the franchise to victory in Super Bowl XLVIII.

Some Seahawks fans, however, were happy to see him go.

“There was a vocal group that did not not appreciate him sitting for the national anthem – for whatever reason,” Tacoma News Tribune Seahawks writer Gregg Bell said on Ferrall on the Bench. “Just the mere fact that he was sitting for the anthem was enough for them to not like the guy. It’s the same reason a lot of people don’t like Colin Kaepernick. Once they do that, the actual reason, the message and the statement behind the act gets lost – and I understand that. I’m a former Army officer, a West Point graduate. I respect the heck out of the flag and what it stands for and the anthem.



“But I believe Bennett did a great job of using his platform as an NFL player,” Bell continued. “Be it right or wrong, in our society, professional athletes are deified and they’re listened to. They’re listened to by kids who are influenced, and the players are very influential. Michael Bennett is one who has used that platform to, I think, better (society). He’s been very active in social causes both nationally and here in Seattle.”

Bennett took up a number of causes in recent years, advocating for better treatment of women and minorities. He also worked with at-risk youth and worked to improve childhood literacy.

“I understand why people are upset with him,” Bell said. “But I believe instead of just taking his money playing football and going home to his home in Hawaii every offseason, he did something to try to make society better and use his platform for that.”

Bell was underwhelmed by the trade. Only J.J. Watt and Carlos Dunlap have hit quarterbacks more than Bennett over the last five seasons.

“A three-time pro Bowler who’s still sacking quarterbacks while playing through injuries – you’d think you could get more than an undrafted special teams wide receiver and a fifth-round pick,” Bell said. “It tells you how difficult it is to trade 32-year-olds, no matter what their pedigree is.”

Richard Sherman, meanwhile, could also be on his way out of Seattle.

“It looks like the Seahawks and he are trying to determine whether they can restructure his $11 million salary for the final year of his contract or whether they want to release him,” Bell said. “In a perfect world, the Seahawks would like to trade him and save that $11 million in cap space, but (his trade value is so low). He’s coming of two Achilles surgeries. There’s not a lot of trade value for Richard Sherman right now.”

Sherman does not have an agent and represents himself.

“He’s very involved in the NFL Players Association,” Bell said. “He thinks he in many ways is above the rank and file NFL player in knowledge about contracts and negotiation. Pus, He’s got a great relationship with John Schneider and Pete Carroll. He is a respected voice in that organization. . . . But as it always comes down to in professional sports, it’s about money. It’s about aging players, the Legion of Boom not being 25 anymore – but 30 and injured and expensive and, therefore, expendable. We saw it with Michael Bennett as well.”