Baldwin, who has asked for all 50 attorneys general to review police training procedures, and teammates met with members of the Seattle Police Department last Monday.
When Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin asked a few weeks ago for all 50 attorneys general to review police training procedures, he hoped it would inspire change.
He also wanted to inspire conversation.
That conversation in recent weeks has included a meeting he had with members of the Seattle Police Department last Monday at the team facility in Renton. The meeting included other Seahawks players, and he had a phone conversation with Washington State attorney general Bob Ferguson.
But the conversations are far from over, as is the kind of change Baldwin feels is necessary. That, for now, makes Baldwin reluctant to detail what he has learned.
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“All these meetings are for us to get information,” Baldwin said Monday after the Seahawks held their first practice after returning from a week off for their bye. “I don’t want to share who it was with or what it was about (referring to the SPD meeting), but it was a learning experience. The reason why I don’t want to share what it was about is because it’s not about being political. We’re just trying to learn. … It’s not really a publicity stunt or something we want to give publicity to because we’re working diligently on solutions.”
Baldwin made his call to attorneys general after he helped spearhead the team’s decision to link arms during the national anthem this year, a move that came in the wake of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s decision to first sit, and then kneel, during the anthem.
It was through those discussions and the formation of the team’s Building Bridges Task Force that Baldwin decided to determine that training is the area he hopes to improve.
“I don’t know (if there’s) one particular thing,’’ said Baldwin, whose father is a police officer. “I would say just the policies that we have in place for our law enforcement don’t necessarily protect them or put them in the best positions to be protected. They are placed in these situations sometimes because that’s what they’re taught, that’s how they’re trained.
“And then it’s turned around and they get in trouble or they get prosecuted or looked at in a negative light because of the training that they’ve gone through. Their job is a very difficult job, obviously. They put their lives on the line every time they go out onto the street.
“So I don’t understand how we’re not giving our law enforcement more tools, more training, more resources to go out there and protect themselves and protect the communities that they serve and then ultimately protecting their reputation. I just don’t understand how that’s not a national effort to do that.”
Baldwin characterized his talk with Ferguson as “positive. We had a good conversation.’’
“ … The people in our state have been great, but obviously we’re trying to make this a nationwide thing. It’s been good in the fact that it’s generated conversations with people we normally wouldn’t converse with.”
Baldwin said the talks have been “eye-opening,’’ adding that “it’s making me more empathetic to everybody in general. And that’s not a bad thing.”
Baldwin last week appeared on “60 Minutes Sports” on Showtime and “Any Given Wednesday” on HBO.
But to any worry that he might be spreading himself thin, Baldwin said balancing his efforts to improve police training with playing football is “not as difficult as you guys might think. I’ve been playing football since I was 6 years old, so this routine is normal to me. And I love football. It’s my passion. So it’s not very difficult for me to get up for football.’’