SEATTLE – Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane, who said he plans to continue to sit during the national anthem this season, may not be doing so by himself when the team opens the regular season Sunday against Miami.
Seattle receiver Doug Baldwin said Wednesday he is also considering sitting during the anthem before Sunday’s 1:05 p.m. kickoff at CenturyLink Field while linebacker Bobby Wagner said the team has been talking about a group action.
“I have (considered it),” Baldwin said before Seattle’s practice Wednesday afternoon. “I want to make sure I get all of my ducks in a row before I do so.”
While 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.”
Wagner said he couldn’t say exactly what the team might do, saying “whatever we decide to do will be a big surprise.”
Baldwin, asked if players besides himself have considered joining Lane, said “our locker room has discussed it. So we’ll see.”
Lane sat during the anthem before last Thursday’s final preseason game at Oakland, saying he was showing solidarity with Colin Kaepernick, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback who sat during the anthem a week ago Friday. Kaepernick said he sat to protest racial inequality and police brutality. Kaepernick and teammate Eric Reid then kneeled during the anthem before another game last Friday.
Lane said Monday he plans to continue sitting.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, who spoke before players were made available to the media, said he has talked to Lane and that the team is fine with whatever he decides to do.
“He’s pretty clear on what he did and what he was trying to express and I think it is very simple and so we’ll leave that up to him,” Carroll said. “But he understands the responsibility of it, I think, and shouldering it.”
Baldwin took to social media on Friday with a series of Tweets backing the idea of the protest, writing in one “we honor those who fight for our right to freedom of speech and then condemn those who exercise that right?”
Baldwin, a six-year veteran who grew up in Gulf Breeze, Fla., said he mostly got positive reaction for the posts and said he was most heartened by what he heard from military veterans.
“My grandfather being in the military, it hit home for me as well, and specifically it’s the veterans,” he said. “That’s more heartening to me than anything is the veterans that have reached out and said that’s what they fought for, that’s what they sacrificed their lives for, is to give people back home under the flag, under this country, the opportunity to stand up or sit for what they believe in.”
Baldwin also said he has talked extensively in recent days to Kaepernick – the two share a mutual friend in former Seahawk Ricardo Lockette, who became one of Kaepernick’s close friends during a stint with the 49ers during the 2012 season.
Baldwin reiterated he had not made any decision saying “honesty I’m praying a lot about it, more so leaning on my faith and trying to get the right direction in that regard.”
Wagner, a fifth-year player from Ontario, Calif., said that the organization or coaches will not dictate to the players what actions they may take.
“We have the freedom to do whatever we want here,” Wagner said. “Whatever we decide to do, we ain’t gonna get into too much trouble. We’re big kids now.”
Both said they did not feel that any locker room issues would arise if some players disagreed with the actions of others.
“It’s different in our locker room,” Baldwin said. “We kind of give each other a lot of slack, so whatever decisions you make, we understand we are all human beings. Some of us might not agree, some of us will agree. But at the same time we give each other slack because we know we are all human beings.”
Said Wagner: “We have a very special group of guys in here. I think that’s probably not going to be seen until way, way down the line, but the group of guys that are in here are second to none. You’ll never see another team like this ever again, whenever it’s done.”
Baldwin said he understood that the game being played on Sept. 11 – the 15th anniversary of terrorist attacks in which the hijacking of airplanes killed almost 3,000 people – could bring a different spotlight to protests.
“Absolutely,” Baldwin said of it the date needs to be taken into consideration when deciding whether to protest. “I think that anybody should be thinking about that. Even if it wasn’t September 11 the point of the protest is to get people to think. I think it’s very ironic to me that 15 years ago on Sept.11 was one of the most devastating times in U.S. history and after that day we were probably the most unified that we have ever been. And today we struggle to see the unity. And it’s very ironic to me that this date is coming up. So it’s going to be a special day, a very significant day, but at the same time I am looking forward to the may changes and differences, the changes we can make in this country to make better changes in our country.”
Said Carroll of whether the 9-11 anniversary should be taken into consideration in terms of any protest: “Not specifically to that. We have a concern that this date is coming up just because we are Americans and it’s an important day. But not specifically to that.”
Wagner said that regardless of whatever actions the team, or individuals, decide to take, he thinks the conversations that have been ignited by Kaepernick’s initial decision to sit have been positive.
“I enjoy having conversations because we’re fortunate enough to have black people, white people, all type of people in this locker room,” Wagner said. “You get to see different backgrounds, different journeys. I think that’s what separates the NFL because they’re so many different cultures in here that you get to learn from, that you get to experience that people from the outside don’t get to experience. We don’t live in a box. We understand that there’s different type of views, different type of actions, and we have an open mind to listen to them.
”As far as sitting down, me personally, I don’t know if I would do that. I support Kap and what he’s doing. I think sometimes everybody takes the message wrong because there’s a lot of stuff that’s going on, a lot of bad stuff that’s going on that needs to be fixed. At some point you have to do whatever you need to do to get that fixed. I think what he’s done is opened up that conversation and made people talk about it. Whenever you have the president talking about those types of things, it’s definitely getting its message across. But I think it’s a very positive message. There should be justice and equality for everybody, no matter what your skin color is, and I think that’s what he’s fighting for because a lot of black people don’t get that.“
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