Arrow-right Camera
Go to e-Edition Sign up for newsletters Customer service
Subscribe now
Sports >  Seattle Seahawks

Commentary: Calling Seahawks ‘sore losers’ doesn’t even begin to describe this team

Players from the Jacksonville Jaguars, left, and the Seattle Seahawks get into a scrum during the second half Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017, in Jacksonville, Fla. Several players were penalized and ejected from the game. (Phelan M. Ebenhack / AP)
Players from the Jacksonville Jaguars, left, and the Seattle Seahawks get into a scrum during the second half Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017, in Jacksonville, Fla. Several players were penalized and ejected from the game. (Phelan M. Ebenhack / AP)
By Matt Calkins Seattle Times

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – I heard a lot of chatter Sunday about what “sore losers” the Seahawks were, but that might be too soft a label. A sore loser is someone who won’t shake your hand or curses you out or refuses to give you credit.

What took place in the final moments of Seattle’s 30-24 loss to the Jaguars was more than an act of poor sportsmanship. What took place Sunday was an embarrassment to the organization.

It started when Jacksonville was in victory formation, and defensive end Michael Bennett dived into Jaguars center Brandon Linder’s legs.

Worse, when a scuffle ensued after the play, Bennett again went after Linder, this time rolling into his legs and taking him down.

This wasn’t mere gamesmanship. This was Bennett – the Seahawks’ nominee for the 2017 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award – throwing a cheap shot that could have torn Linder’s ACL.

Remember the Seahawks’ home game against Atlanta last year? Remember when Jake Matthews took Bennett down with a cut block that caused him to leave the game with an knee injury?

Bennett said the play was dirty and called it a “scary (expletive) move.” But when asked about his own scary (expletive) move Sunday, he had a different tone.

“I don’t have to explain myself,” Bennett said.

The fact that Bennett wasn’t ejected was surprising. Him facing subsequent discipline from the league wouldn’t be. But that was just the opening act to one of the most bizarre finishes to an NFL game we’ve ever seen.

On that same play, Seahawks defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson was tossed for throwing a punch in the middle of another scuffle. One play later, Seattle coach Pete Carroll got hit with a 15-yard penalty for running onto the field, and defensive end Quinton Jefferson was ejected for fighting.

And that’s when things took an ugly, almost unprecedented turn.

On his way back to the locker room, Jefferson began jawing with a few deplorable Jaguars fans. They threw drinks on him. They hurled insults. His teammate, Jarran Reed, tweeted that one used the “N” word (Jefferson never mentioned that).

Jefferson was unsurprisingly furious and began screaming at the fans. But he then tried to climb into the stands, only to be pulled down by security.

Look, the fans throwing those drinks should be banned from EverBank Field for life. The Jaguars should be ashamed to have supporters like that.

The anger coursing through Jefferson’s veins was understandable, and him jarring with them was, too. But you can’t climb into the stands no matter how fans are behaving. You just can’t.

After the game, Jefferson didn’t appear contrite.

“I’m a human just like anybody else. I’m not going to let somebody disrespect me and throw a beer on me,” Jefferson said. “Just because I’m playing football, I’m still a human being.”

Asked if going into the stands was the right call, Jefferson responded, “Was it the right call for him to throw a beer on me?”

Of course it wasn’t. And teammates defended him. Bennett interrupted Jefferson’s postgame interviews with reporters and told them to stop asking questions.

“How would you like it if one of your kids was playing sports and had someone throw a beer on him?,” Bennett said.

I’m guessing just about every parent in the country would hate it – but I doubt many would encourage a Jefferson-like reaction.

It’s no secret the Seahawks are one of the most passionate, socially-active teams in professional sports. Bennett prides himself on being a difference-maker in the community, and all of my interactions with Richardson and Jefferson have been pleasant.

The more time you spend around these 53 guys, the more you generally appreciate them.

But what happened in Jacksonville was inexcusable.

Sunday’s game was flexed to a later start time in order to attract more eyeballs nationally. What those eyeballs saw was the Seahawks at their worst.

This team just lost a tough game on the road. They likely lost a lot of fans, too.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the sports newsletter

Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.