The Seattle Seahawks’ Michael Bennett is a good player and a charitable man, but he doesn’t seem to have much of a sense for irony.
In Saturday’s Seattle Times, sports columnist Matt Calkins embedded a criticism of Bennett’s maturity in so much candy coating you could liken it to … I dunno, maybe some children’s medicine or something. The first sentence is about how Calkins likes Bennett, followed by 12 consecutive paragraphs on all the things about Michael Bennett that are worth liking. He’s a great quote, he’s a great player, he’s a team player, he’s a conscientious man. On and on it goes. It kind of reminds me of the way my mom would talk to me right before I got a spankin’, back when I was a small child: I want you to know I love you very much, and I don’t like doing this but it for your own good.
And then comes the spankin’.
So props there. Props for everything above. It’s just that. … I still can’t get some images out of my head.
What follows is a series of examples of Bennett being immature. I don’t want to rip off too much of Calkins’ material, but we’re talking about things like this:
I was 10 feet away from Bennett after that playoff loss to the Falcons when he ripped into a reporter for asking a fair question about the pass rush. He called him a “non-playing (expletive)” and asked what kind of adversity he’d been through, implying that there was no way it could be on par with an NFL player.
Well, that reporter survived cancer, which Bennett obviously didn’t know. But the fact that he never apologized or even acknowledged it reeks of immaturity.
This was the same Bennett who, earlier that day, blasted through a Falcons offensive lineman while he was in victory formation. It’s the same Bennett who cracks at least one sex joke per interview, consistently tries to demean the media, and who is now in a war of words with ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith.
So, OK, the Dimetapp has been sneaked into the Kool-Aid. Maybe Bennett, 31, would benefit from acting his age. And maybe that’s something a man his age ought to do even if it won’t benefit him.
In either case, that’s not the route Bennett has chosen.
He has instead stormed off to his room, slammed the door, and slid out a note saying he’s not talking to Mom anymore.
It feels ridiculous to have to point this out, but this is a well-known professional athlete we’re talking about. This guy has been in the NFL for eight years. He’s a public figure, and not a reluctant one. As Calkins pointed out, Bennett enjoys talking to the press, and does a good job of it. Sometimes being a public figure means getting criticized, and this criticism was about as polite as it gets.
If you don’t want to get called a baby, you’re eventually going to have to swallow some medicine without throwing a fit.