When Sunday’s game ended, a handful of Seahawks walked across the field to shake hands and share words with San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick, the man who started a national anthem protest movement. First Doug Baldwin. Then Michael Bennett. Followed by Bobby Wagner.

Share story

When the game ended Sunday, a handful of Seahawks walked across the field to shake hands and share words with San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick, the man who started a movement of protest during the national anthem.

First Doug Baldwin. Then Michael Bennett. Followed by Bobby Wagner.

One-time football adversaries suddenly have bonded in an effort to effect change in their communities.

“I’ve had brief conversations with them,” Kaepernick said. “They’re trying to do everything they can to create a stable environment in these communities and get the justice, the liberty and the freedom that everybody deserves. That’s what we need.

“We need people that are willing to take a stand. We need people that are willing to risk some of what they have to get out there and say what’s going on isn’t right. And even if this is not profitable to me, I can go help people.”

While Kaepernick has been hailed and vilified for kneeling during the national anthem, the Seahawks have been universally praised for their decision to stand and lock arms.

“Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem and regardless of what people want to say about it disrespecting the military or the country or whatever it may be, he shed light on an issue that needed to be revealed,” Baldwin said. “So now we’re having this conversation.”

For more than 15 minutes after the Seahawks’ 37-18 victory, Kaepernick stood in front of his locker room and answered questions about racial injustice, police brutality and if he thinks he’ll be a topic in the first presidential debate Monday.

He also addressed the recent shooting deaths of Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte, and Terence Crutcher in Tulsa — African-American men killed by police.

“People are fighting for their lives on a daily basis and not just the ones that are getting killed,” Kaepernick said. “And we’re turning a blind eye to this and saying that’s OK. I can’t do that. I have to try to help.”

Kaepernick has seemingly started a movement in the past month that has swept the sporting community.

In Seattle, the Garfield High football team and coaching staff has knelt during the anthem for two games and is committed to continuing the practice the remainder of the season.

“We have a younger generation that sees these issues and want to be able to correct them,” Kaepernick said. “I think that’s amazing. I think it shows the strength, the character and the courage of our youth. Ultimately, they’re going to be needed to help make this change.”

Kaepernick hasn’t played this season and 49ers coach Chip Kelly didn’t consider using the backup quarterback in the fourth quarter when San Francisco trailed by 34 points.

“I’m ready to go whenever they need me,” he said.

Before leaving, he was asked about how the anthem protests might evolve once the NBA begins next month.

“I’m hoping that a lot of them will take a stand however they see fit and create change as well,” Kaepernick said. “Those guys have a big platform. We’ll see. That could really be something.”

Information in this article, originally published Sept. 25, 2016, was corrected Sept. 26, 2016. A previous version of this story incorrectly spelled Terence Crutcher’s last name.