The Seahawks on Saturday night released a statement supporting the right of their players to protest.
In the wake of comments from president Donald Trump critical of the NFL and the right of players to protest, the Seahawks on Saturday night released a statement that owner Paul Allen portrayed as being “in support of our players.”
The statement, which officially came from president Peter McLoughlin, read: “We fully support our players’ use of their freedom of speech and peaceful action to highlight the existing racial and other divides in our country. Our players completely respect the military and veterans of our country; however, they believe these issues need to come to the forefront.’’
The statement came in response to statements Trump made at a rally in Huntsville, Ala., on Friday, when he took aim at the league and players who have sat for the anthem without mentioning names saying “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out. He’s fired! He’s fired!’”
Trump also said that NFL fans should turn and walk out if they see players sitting for the anthem stating “even if it’s one player, leave the stadium. I guarantee things will stop.’’
Among the Seahawks who fired back on Twitter was cornerback Richard Sherman , who stated: “The behavior of the President is unacceptable and needs to be addressed. If you do not Condemn this divisive Rhetoric you are Condoning it!!’’
Pete Carroll also released a public statement on Facebook and Twitter Saturday night, saying ‘there’s no longer a place to sit silently. It’s time to take a stand.’
“We stand for love and justice and civility,” the statement read. “We stand for our players and their constitutional rights, just as we stand for equality for all people. We stand against divisiveness and hate and dehumanization. We are in the midst of a tremendously challenging time, a time longing for healing. Change needs to happen; we will stand for change. May we all have the courage to take a stand for our beliefs while not diminishing the rights of others, as this is the beating heart of our democracy. As a team, we are united in a mission to bring people together to help create positive change. We can longer remain silent.”
— Pete Carroll (@PeteCarroll) September 24, 2017
Only one Seahawk has been a consistent protester during the anthem this season, defensive lineman Michael Bennett. Bennett has sat for the anthem for all four exhibition games and two regular season games, joined since the second exhibition game by center Justin Britt, who has stood next to Bennett with his hand on Bennett’s shoulders.
Several other Seahawks have several times sat near Bennett at the end of the anthem, including Avril and Frank Clark. Cornerback Jeremy Lane also sat for the anthem prior to an exhibition game at Oakland in 2016.
Clark added to the idea that more players will join Bennett in sitting for the anthem Sunday by Tweeting on Saturday “Save me a spot’’ addressed to Bennett’s Twitter handle.
Ten other NFL games will be held before the Seahawks kick off Sunday.
Receiver Doug Baldwin, meanwhile, released a lengthy statement via ESPN’s Josina Anderson and ESPN Seattle 710’s Gee Scott that also seemed to hint at a possible increased protest on Sunday, stating in part: “I’m not surprised by Trump’s comments. He has shown, since the beginning, his dehumanized nature. To think he would be anything different is to not know the reality of his presidency. He has surrounded himself with like minded people and has removed anyone who challenges him. He acts like a child craving attention and any attention will do.
“Although these recent comments are not the worst things he’s said or done, I do believe that this will be a unifying moment for the sports world. And with as much influence as athletes have on the younger generation, this can be an opportunity for us to change the narrative of society and point to the president as a poor example of what you can become if you remain close minded, ignorant and uneducated.
“For all the hate and negativity that has come from Trump’s presidency, I am still hopeful for justice and love to win out. As I continue to my efforts with the youth of our communities and engage with this hatred, I will resist the urge to return hate with hate and instead react in love and compassion for those who simply can not.
“I encourage others to do the same. ‘’