RENTON — What the Seahawks may do to protest racial injustice and police brutality this season will, for now, be kept “in house,” in the words of safety Quandre Diggs.
Diggs met the media via Zoom before Friday’s practice, which was the first for the Seahawks since a mock game Wednesday, during which the Milwaukee Bucks decided not to play a playoff game in the wake of the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Sunday.
That, in turn, helped kick off a succession of pro and college teams deciding not to play or practice over the last few days.
That list included nine NFL teams deciding not to practice Thursday. The Seahawks had already been scheduled for a day off Thursday after their mock game Wednesday at CenturyLink Field, which included full pads and tackling.
Asked if the Seahawks considered not practicing Friday, Diggs said that would be kept private. The Seahawks conducted business as usual Friday with a full practice at the VMAC in Renton.
Diggs said “I applaud” the NBA, WNBA and MLB teams that decided not to play over the past few days.
“All those guys were able to take a stand and shut the world down,” said Diggs, who was acquired from Detroit in a trade last October and has quickly become a team leader. “Even if it was just for that day, it made a statement. It’s crazy times in this world. At some point as athletes, as entertainers, it’s our job to let people know we are more than entertainers, we are more than athletes.
“We have families outside of this. I mean, my whole family’s Black at the end of the day. I’m scared for them every day. I mean, I call my mom every day. No matter that I’m a multimillionaire, she worries about me each and every day. So I have nothing but respect for those guys, and I think as a league, as the NFL, we’ve got to come together and we’ve got to figure out what our message is gonna be and just continue to keep the keep the voices going and keep the movement going. Don’t let our voice not be heard.”
Diggs’ comments came a few hours after quarterback Russell Wilson said in an interview with ESPN 710 AM Seattle that the Seahawks wouldn’t have played a game this weekend had they had one scheduled.
“Yeah for sure,” Wilson said. “I think just witnessing what happened to Jacob and everything else and all the things that have added up to this, it’s devastating.”
Asked if he thinks the Seahawks could consider not playing this season, Diggs referenced what coach Pete Carroll had said on Wednesday that “anything’s possible.”
“As Pete has said it, this is the protest year,” Diggs said. “So anything that we come together collectively as a team, then we’ll figure that out. But until then, that will be kept in-house. I mean, that’s not something that we’ll go around just telling people — that’s beside the point. The point is to shed light on what’s going on in the world and that’s our main thing. It’s not trying to get attention for ourselves and try to bring attention for us to make us look popular or something like that. That’s not what it is. It’s to shed light for the people that have been in the crossfire of these policemen.”
Diggs emphasized that players want to see substantive action from the NFL as he feels has begun to happen in the NBA, which announced Friday that team-owned arenas will be used for voting this year.
“I just want the owners to get on board with us and understand our message,” Diggs said. “I’m tired of them and I’m tired of teams putting out PR statements. Let’s put some action into the work. Let’s get it out in these neighborhoods, let’s try to get these cops and people better training.”
Defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr., who played in the NFL from 1988-2000 with the Cowboys and 49ers, said his message to players was to try to focus on achievable goals such as encouraging people to vote.
“Things we can control,” Norton said.
One who took that to heart was Diggs.
Diggs, 27 and a native of Houston, said he had recently registered to vote for the first time and had spent part of Friday getting his absentee ballot printed “so I can get that shipped out early.”
Asked why he’d never voted before, Diggs said, “I’m a lot more mature than I was four years ago.” He also pointed to his daughter and girlfriend of eight years and other family members “who are depending on me.”
“I don’t like the leadership that we have now, I’m just gonna be honest with you,” Diggs said. “So for me to invoke my change, I think it’s important for me to go out there and get my vote.
“I mean, I’m not telling people who to vote for — vote for whoever you vote for. But for me, I think it’s just important in these times with everything going on that your vote is important. People back in the day fought for our rights to be able to vote. And I think for me, it’s important for me to take advantage of those rights and go do that.”