EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The NFL so much admires the calculated, inclusionary way Doug Baldwin is going about pushing for social and racial equality and criminal-justice reform, its commissioner sought him out to talk more about it.
Roger Goodell asked the Seattle Seahawks wide receiver this past week if he could meet with Baldwin on Saturday, while Seattle was in the New York City area near league headquarters to play the Giants on Sunday.
Goodell earlier in the week co-signed a letter to congress backing a criminal-justice reform bill. Baldwin asked him to do that, to get the league behind his initiatives he started in 2016 with state attorneys general and police officials.
Saturday, Goodell came to the Seahawks’ team hotel in Jersey City to meet with Baldwin.
What did Baldwin learn?
“Just the understanding that the league is sincere,” Baldwin said Sunday night as he walked across the field at MetLife Stadium after sparking Seattle’s 24-7 win over New York. “That the act to affect change in society is genuine” with the league’s players.
Baldwin looked and sounded satisfied and indeed appreciative at Goodell’s interest.
The league held a meeting with 11 team owners, 13 players and the head of the players’ union last week in New York. The tone from that meeting was one of progressing past the national controversy over players sitting and kneeling during national anthems before games this season in protests for equality, to efforts league-wide, including by the NFL itself, to join in supporting the cause.
But Sunday, Michael Bennett and his fellow Seahawks defensive linemen didn’t move past sitting during the anthem. Bennett and seven teammates, including fellow Pro Bowl end Cliff Avril, who is on injured reserve — sat on the bench, as Bennett had said last week he would continue to do.
Bennett said last week he will continue to sit until unemployed quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who began this movement by kneeling during anthems last year while with the San Francisco 49ers, signs with an NFL team.
Asked by New York media following Sunday’s game if he’s going to continue to sit until Kaepernick gets signed, Bennett said: “It’s always been broader than that. It’s always been about justice and discrimination in America. Police brutality. Women’s rights. All those different issues. Clean water in Flint, Michigan. Just issues that’s pertaining to America that we need to pay attention to.”
Asked if he heard anything that came out of last week’s NFL meeting on social issues that maybe changed his mind or outlook on protesting, Bennett said: “I didn’t hear anything. I heard my daughter crying the other night, that was about it.”
Prosise active — then hurt again
Despite being questionable to play because of an ankle injury, C.J. Prosise was active for the first time in three games — and just the 10th time in 24 games since the Seahawks drafted him in the third round last year. Prosise hadn’t been active for a game since Sept. 24 at Tennessee.
He entered in the first half, ran out in the left flat when Russell Wilson threw across the middle — and got hurt again. No contact. More uncertainty on when he’ll play again.
Coach Pete Carroll said Prosise re-injured the ankle, “tweaked” it, to use the coach’s exact word.
That was the only injury Carroll reported of a player that didn’t finish Sunday’s game.
As expected, and as he promised, Bennett was active and starting despite the team listing him officially as questionable to play Sunday. He had two hits on Eli Manning, as Seattle’s pass rush teed off on the statuesque 36-year-old Giants quarterback after the Seahawks took the lead in the second half.
Bennett played the second half of the Oct. 8 win at the Los Angeles Rams with a plantar-fascia injury in his right foot. He’s said it hurts to walk and it’s a pain-management issue. The Pro Bowl defensive end managed that pain again Sunday.
The Seahawks had an open spot on their 53-man active roster because they’ve yet to make a corresponding move after putting Avril on injured reserve Friday. That left six inactives for the Giants game, instead of the usual seven.
Cornerback Jeremy Lane missed his second consecutive game because of a strained groin. That had rookie Shaquill Griffin starting again at right cornerback and Justin Coleman again inside as the nickel back in passing situations. Coleman had a pass breakup on third down and continues to play well since Seattle traded a late-round draft choice to New England for him at the end of the preseason.
Starting left guard Luke Joeckel was inactive following his knee surgery last week; Carroll has said Joeckel is likely to miss at least four or five games.
Ethan Pocic, the rookie second-round draft choice, started at left guard. Mark Glowinski alternated in every couple series. Glowinski was the left guard in 2016, then lost his job at right guard this season to Oday Aboushi after two games.
Sunday was the third time in four games the Seahawks gained at least 425 yards in total offense. They had 433 in a 33-27 loss at Tennessee last month and 477 in another rousing second half, Oct. 1 in the late runaway from Indianapolis. Seattle had 321 net yards passing and 104 net yards rushing Sunday. … Thomas Rawls started and had 11 carries for 36 yards with the fumble in the second quarter that set up the Giants’ only score. After the fumble he played maybe one snap until the fourth quarter. Carroll thought Rawls got his facemask grabbed on the fumble and it should have been penalized. … Another sign of the offensive line’s issues with pass protection: the Seahawks actually called two screen passes Sunday. That’s seemingly about one more than they’ve run in the past two seasons. … Seattle’s other inactives Sunday: rookie safety Tedric Thompson, rookie guard Jordan Roos, offensive tackle Isaiah Battle and defensive tackle Garrison Smith.