RENTON If anyone knows of another professional athlete like Michael Bennett, keep it to yourself.
We’ll enjoy the one that wears to his press conference a customized, “Black Santa” Christmas sweater with the Seahawks’ Pro Bowl defensive end in his No. 72 jersey doing his hip-thrust sack dance.
“I got like 20 of them,” he said of the sweater he also wore Tuesday. “You want one?”
And we’ll take the one that explains, in a way only he can, how he is confused about how the NFL penalizes players during games.
“Two pumps gets you a baby,” Bennett said Wednesday.
“Three pumps gets you a fine.”
Bennett was discussing his unsportmanlike-conduct penalty he got -- no, absolutely earned -- during last Thursday night’s win over Los Angeles. It was for doing three hip thrusts, in comic celebration of his first sack since his five-game absence for arthroscopic knee surgery.
In the past, Bennett has gotten away with two hip thrusts following sacks. The fine line of two thrusts versus three became immortalized within the Seahawks’ locker room a couple years ago, when, according to Bennett, coach Pete Carroll showed the team this somewhat famous McCringleberry skit from the “Key and Peele” comedy show:
I asked Bennett on Wednesday if he subscribed to Key and Peele’s three-pump criterion for when the NFL deems a celebration excessive.
That’s when he delivered the best of what have been many memorable quotes in his Seahawks’ career.
I mean, if you don’t think “Two pumps gets you a baby, three pumps gets you a fine” is funny, you take sports too seriously.
Bennett said teammate and fellow Pro Bowl defensive end Cliff Avril is partly to blame for the penalty. Avril was standing next to Bennett as he thrusted, and Avril copped Wednesday to egging on his buddy to continue his celebration.
“Cliff had everything to do with it,” Bennett said. “Good friends don’t let friends do that.”
Bennett, by the way, echoed what Doug Baldwin and Russell Wilson said Wednesday, that there is no divide in the Seahawks’ locker room. That’s been a topic this week in the aftermath of Richard Sherman berating Carroll and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell for having Wilson throw a pass from the 1-yard line during the Rams game.
“I think, overall, the media and people, they want to play it up because they want to divide the team,” Bennett said. “Everybody wants to find a reason to divide, or find a reason to find something, a reason, why there is a fault. It’s something, because nobody can believe in true happiness, or have people be happy. So they have to find a fault in it. They won’t let people aplogize and move on, you know. They won’t let that happen. Instead, we have to do that ourselves.
“We go out there, make a mistake, go back and apologize. That’s a part of being in a family, is to be able to have an argument but be respectful enough to go back and realize you made a mistake. It doesn’t make it easier when everyone around the world keeps harping on it, keeps harping on it, to try to make it a problem....
“I don’t think Richard Sherman did it and went out to tear the team apart. He’s a competitive person. Just like Darrell Bevell. He wants to win, too.”
So, Mr. Bennett, is this Seahawks locker room the place of true happiness?
“The only place of true happiness,” he said, “is with my wife.
“Nah, this is a place of happiness. ... Here, you get to be who you are.”
By the way, the NFC West champions(9-4-1) have a game in three days. They will try to get one step closer to the No. 2 seed in the conference playoffs when they host the deposed division champs, the Arizona Cardinals (5-8-1) on Christmas Eve.