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Reporter Who Questioned Michael Bennett’s Maturity Apologizes After Player Threatens to Boycott Newspaper

Matt Calkins fielded comments on his Michael Bennett piece on Twitter after the boycott threat. (@Matt_Calkins/Wikimedia Commons)

A Seattle-Times reporter is apologizing to Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett after he declared he would boycott the paper after an op-ed questioned his maturity.

“I apologize, first and foremost, to Michael Bennett, who read the column after hosting a pair of charity events this weekend,” Matt Calkins wrote Monday, May 23. “As I said throughout my story, and later in a tweet, I have great respect for the defensive end who is trying to make a difference.”

Bennett, a two-time Pro-Bowler, took issue with the piece that went from praising his charitableness and his refusal to be a political pawn by traveling to Israel to slamming his interactions with reporters.

“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,” Calkins wrote in the May 20 piece. “He called him a ‘nonplaying [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 publicly apologized or even acknowledged it reeks of immaturity.” (After Bennett discovered the reporter had battled cancer, he contacted him privately to apologize.)

“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,” Calkins wrote.

Smith took issue with Bennett’s support of free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick and he and Bennett verbally sparred throughout last week.

Bennett has responded to Calkin’s apology, expressing gratitude and vowing to continue to speak up on issues he’s passionate about.

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