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Seahawks, Titans stay inside for anthem

Officials stand on the sideline of the during the playing of the national anthem before an NFL football game between the Seahawks and the Tennessee Titans Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, in Nashville, Tenn. Neither team came out onto the field for the anthem. (Mark Zaleski / AP)
Officials stand on the sideline of the during the playing of the national anthem before an NFL football game between the Seahawks and the Tennessee Titans Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, in Nashville, Tenn. Neither team came out onto the field for the anthem. (Mark Zaleski / AP)

During hours of meetings on Saturday discussing how to best respond to something they felt had to have a response – comments by President Donald Trump on Friday criticizing the NFL and players who have been protesting social inequalities during the national anthem – the Seahawks decided that whatever they did they had to do together.

“It doesn’t show the kind of power unless it’s the entire team,’’ said cornerback Richard Sherman.

That led to the Seahawks on Sunday deciding to not take the field for the playing of the national anthem before their game against the Tennessee Titans.

The Titans also did not take the field, making it the only game where neither team was on the field for the anthem – Seattle and Tennessee players had spoken Saturday and knew the plans of each other.

Sherman said many ideas were batted around in what he estimated were at least 3 1/2 hours of talks on Saturday, including kneeling with a flag at half-mast.

But while some players wanted to kneel or sit, others did not, and Sherman said the goal was to show unity.

“We wanted to do our best to not ostracize our guys, any of our individuals,’’ Sherman said. “Allow them to feel welcomed and not really make them uncomfortable. That’s the worst thing you could do is put your teammate in an uncomfortable position.

“If we don’t come out, the whole team doesn’t come out, then it’s easy for him to defend himself and say ‘Hey, it’s a team decision. I just did what the team did.’ You’re a good teammate. Perfect. Fine.’’

Sherman noted one reason the team decided not to come out for the anthem is that it used to be the norm –players were typically not on the field for the anthem prior to the events of Sept. 11, 2001.

Shortly before the anthem the Seahawks released a statement that read: “As a team, we have decided we will not participate in the national anthem. We will not stand for the injustice that has plagued people of color in this country. Out of love for our country and in honor of the sacrifices made on our behalf, we unite to oppose those that would deny our most basic freedoms. We remain committed in continuing to work towards equality and justice for all. Respectfully, the players of the Seattle Seahawks.”

Tennessee also released a statement reading, “As a team, we wanted to be unified in our actions today. The players jointly decided this was the best course of action. Our commitment to the military and our community is resolute and the absence of our team for the national anthem shouldn’t be misconstrued as unpatriotic.”


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