Two years ago, the Seahawks drafted the societal issue of domestic violence into their locker room.
This week, Frank Clark has brought it back -- upon himself.
Seattle’s third-year pass rusher lashed out on social media about a piece written online by Natalie Weiner in the spring of 2015 objecting to the Seahawks drafting Clark with their first pick of that draft, in the second round. Weiner tagged her story on Clark to one she wrote last week on former NFL defensive end Greg Hardy. Clark had been kicked out of the University of Michigan’s program months before Seattle drafted him two years ago, following an arrest on charges of assault and domestic violence.
The Seahawks don’t appreciate Clark’s online posts this week.
But I’ve learned the team has not fined him or suspended the defensive end in any way.
“We met with him and expressed our disappointment,” a Seahawks spokesman wrote Thursday in a text message to The News Tribune, adding the team did not fine or suspend Clark.
On the day the Seahawks drafted Clark, general manager John Schneider said “there’s more than one side to a police report.” Whatever the truth, it was clear the pass rusher would be on a short leash in Seattle, and that Clark and the team were OK with that.
This week, Clark smacked himself with that leash.
On May 2 Weiner wrote for Bleacher Report a story on Hardy and the league’s issues with domestic violence and assault. Weiner said alongside that Hardy story last week she shared the piece she wrote on Clark two years ago.
That’s when Clark saw it, apparently for the first time.
His apology online later Tuesday was almost as inappropriate and misguided. Almost.
By Wednesday, Clark issued a second apology, this one more appropriate. For starters, it directly addressed Weiner.
It was produced inside team headquarters. The bottom right of the tweet shows a location tag of the Seahawks’ Virginia Mason Athletic Center, in Renton.
Clark’s arrest in late 2014 stemmed from an incident with a 20-year-old Ohio woman on a Saturday night at a hotel in Perkins Township outside Sandusky, Ohio, about an hour south of the Michigan campus. As is standard for the charge in most states, Clark was booked into Erie (Ohio) County Jail before being released on bond. The disposition of the charge came in April, 2015, weeks before Seattle drafted him: reduced in a plea bargain to “persistent disorderly conduct,” a fourth-degree misdemeanor.
Clark has by all known accounts been a trouble-free citizen since entering the NFL. He is emerging as a key to Seattle’s defense, following a 10-sack season in 2016.
But his judgment this week of posting without thinking, especially in context to how he entered the league, was alarming. Not just to you or me. To his employers.