The Seahawks’ Cliff Avril and Doug Baldwin told reporters Wednesday that they’re contemplating joining teammate Jeremy Lane and 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in their national anthem protest.
In fact, Seattle’s Bobby Wagner says the team has been talking about some sort of group action before Sunday’s 4:05 p.m. ET game against the Dolphins at CenturyLink Field, the Seattle Times reported.
Although Wagner said he didn’t know if he would sit down during the anthem he said, “anything we want to do, it’s not going to be individual. It’s going to be a team thing. That’s what the world needs to see. The world needs to see people coming together versus being individuals.”
“Whatever we decide to do will be a big surprise,” Wagner said, though he wouldn’t say precisely what the team might do.
Baldwin, meanwhile, not only talked about considering joining the protest initiated by Kaepernick, but also discussed support he’s hearing for the movement.
He shared comments on his Facebook pagefrom one such supportive military member:
I have the honor of knowing some amazing people that serve and have served our country in the military. One of them, a friend that served in the Special Forces, responded to my text asking him what he thought about me kneeling during the national anthem. I thought it was appropriate to share what he had to say:
“I’d respect your passion and desire to make a statement about an incredibly important issue that we have to talk about as a nation.
I also feel like, as a white man, it’s impossible for me to say I understand what it is to experience real and widespread racism. I can’t relate to the depth and significance of those wounds. It’s not a story I’ve lived, and I’m not going to pretend I have any personal authority on the issue.
What I will say is I know racism is real. And I know it shouldn’t be. And I know that the only way I can help us get to where racism loses its power in our Nation is for me to listen, respect, and love my friends who have experienced it in their lives.
And if taking a knee during our anthem is how you share your pain with me … Then I will stand behind you while you do and lay any man down who tries to stop you.
I saw a kid take a knee during the anthem, and he put his hand on his heart too. It was powerful for me to see him do that.
Our Nation has to take this issue on. It stands between us and our becoming the Tribe we need to be, and the world needs us to be.”
On Wednesday, Baldwin told reporters: “My grandfather being in the military, it hit home for me as well. It’s the veterans that have reached out and said that’s what they fought for, that’s what they sacrificed their lives for was to give people back home under the flag, under this country, the opportunity to stand up or sit for what they believe in. So that was very heartening for me to hear that.”
Avril told reporters he also has considered taking a knee during the anthem.
“We’re thinking about it. I am,” Avril said. “I truly respect what Kaep is doing. I think some people are taking it out of context because they’re not experiencing the same thing other people are experiencing. They can’t really see it. But as a person that does see it and does see what’s really going on out here, I definitely could see me doing something about it as well.”
It’s hard to imagine a teamwide protest, especially given that some Seahawks, such as quarterback Russell Wilson, have spoken against the anthem protest.
However, Sunday’s date brings special attention to the protest on a platform that commissioner Roger Goodell on Wednesday said carries with it a responsibility “to have respect for our country, for our flag.”
“Even if it wasn’t September 11th, the point of the protest is to get people to think,” Baldwin said. “I think it’s very ironic to me that 15 years ago, on September 11th, one of the most devastating times in U.S. history, and after that day, we were probably one of the most unified that we’ve ever been. And today, you struggle to see the unity.”