Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin said Friday the team's pre-game plan for a “demonstration of unity” should not be considered a protest.
The Seattle Seahawks players are keeping secret the specifics of their planned demonstration of unity before Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins.
But receiver Doug Baldwin, who has been one of the leaders in formulating the action, was adamant Friday that it should not be viewed as a protest.
“We never said there was a protest,’’ said Baldwin, who on Thursday revealed via Twitter that the team had plans for an action that would “honor the country and flag’’ prior to the game.
“I don’t know who did (call it a protest), but we never said there was a protest,” Baldwin said. “We never said we were kneeling, we never said we weren’t kneeling. We just said we were having a discussion. I want to be clear about that — we just said we were having a discussion.’’
Baldwin had said on Wednesday he was considering joining cornerback Jeremy Lane in sitting during the national anthem. Lane sat during the anthem prior to Seattle’s final preseason game in Oakland as a show of solidarity with San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who sat during the anthem the week prior saying he was protesting police brutality against people of color and racial inequality.
Baldwin said Friday the team has been having discussions all week — which he said have included being on a conversation thread with players from 26 other teams — and have devised an action for the show of unity prior to Sunday’s 1:05 p.m. regular season opener.
ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith said Friday on First Take that the Seahawks will lock arm-in-arm “white, black, white, black, white, black.’’
Baldwin, asked about Smith’s report, said only that everyone will have to wait until Sunday.
“You are going to see a demonstration of unity,’’ Baldwin said. “Isn’t that what we said we were going to do? A demonstration of unity.’’
Baldwin’s comments Wednesday that he was considering also sitting, as well as those of teammates such as Bobby Wagner that the team would consider a group action coupled with the Seahawks not revealing what they may do, have led to conjecture about the team’s plans.
A city-sponsored Seahawks rally in DuPont scheduled for Saturday was initially canceled on Friday due to concerns about the planned player action. Mayor Mike Courts saying it could be reinstated if the city gets confirmation that it will show respect and honor for the United States flag.
Baldwin said of the city of DuPont that “they have a right to do whatever they want to.’’
Which is the entire point of all of the discussions the team has been having this week, said coach Pete Carroll.
Carroll also would not go into specifics of the action but said he was “proud of the process’’ the players took to arrive at their decision.
“They’re going to be very thoughtful, very respectful, honoring that which should be recognized,’’ Carroll said. “I’m just really proud of how they’ve gone through it. They have a conscience about what they’re doing, and they really want to do the right thing and be right. I’m just proud of the way they’ve gone through it. These are young men that are growing and they’re trying to figure out the world themselves. They want to try to make sense of how they can have impact and how they can affect others. I just couldn’t be more proud of the way they’ve gone through it. We’ll see on the weekend that I think they’re going to do a very, very good thing.”
The game falls on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks which Carroll said was considered by the players (First Responders — local police, firefighters, ETM and members from all branches of the United States Military are scheduled to present the flag Sunday).
“I think it’s all connected, and I think understanding that is really important,’’ he said. “And they have. They’ve taken all of that into account.”
Members of the New York Police Department and Fire Department of New York who are taking part in a 9/11 memorial ceremony at the Peace Arch at the Canadian Border visited practice earlier this week, which Baldwin said further enhanced the team’s understanding of the anniversary.
“To be able to have those guys here, it allows us,’’ Baldwin said before pausing and continuing. “We are kind of in a false reality here, playing football. We are on the lake, beautiful weather in the Pacific Northwest, and it kind of brings you back to reality that there are things in the world that we can’t even fathom and there are people who have gone through the unexplainable, the unfathomable. So it kind of brings you back that we are all human beings trying to find our way.’’
Baldwin said he appreciated having a coach in Carroll who has allowed the players to work through the issue this week.
“He had input,’’ Baldwin said. “He obviously is our head coach. But ultimately the decisions, the message, the function of everything came from the players. And give a lot of credit to Pete — he allows us to do that because he trusts us and it makes for a beautiful relationship.’’
Baldwin said he thinks the process of arriving at a plan has brought the team closer together.
“Extremely proud,” he said of his feelings about the team. “Like I said, it makes me want to cry almost, just how our team has handled this and the discussions we’ve had and how we’ve come together. It’s been absolutely amazing.”
Lane earlier in the week said he would continue to sit during the anthem. Friday, he said he had no comment on if the team’s plan for a show of unity would change his plans.