RENTON, Wash. – Two weeks away from their season opener, the Seattle Seahawks held their final mock game on Sunday.
But while seeing starters compete against each other was important, much of the focus was on what happened a day before and Pete Carroll’s impassioned speech about racial injustice.
“I saw a leader. I saw a man that wants to learn even more. I saw a man that understands the pain that the Black community is going through. I saw a guy that’s willing to listen,” Seattle safety Jamal Adams said following Sunday’s scrimmage. “That’s what I seen in coach, and I take my hat off to him.”
On Saturday, the Seahawks canceled practice following a long team meeting and spent the day making sure everyone on the team was registered to vote for the November election. As part of the decision to cancel practice, Carroll gave a 15-minute speech during an unexpected media session imploring everyone to listen to the Black community.
“Our players are screaming at us: ‘Can you feel me? Can you see me? Can you hear me?’” Carroll during his speech. “They just want to be respected. They just want to be accepted. Just like all of our white children and families and want to be. It’s no different because we’re all the same.
“And there’s a lot of people that don’t see it that way, but there’s a lot of people that do.”
What Carroll said resonated inside his locker room and in places far away from Seattle. In his speech Carroll asked for coaches to be leaders in listening to their players. He said Sunday that he had been in communication with some coaches in the previous 24 hours.
“I just want to try to rally the troops and we have so many opportunities to connect with our players and extended, players and player families that we need to do our work and I’m hoping that that will take place,” Carroll said. “There’s been a lot of positive response to it and so that helps.”
Adams showed his appreciation of Carroll’s words in a tweet on Saturday night and said the head coach asked him to be the first speaker in the team meeting. Adams said that the message of his talk was his fear when he’s not in his football uniform.
“I’m afraid. I fear for my life as a Black man and I shouldn’t fear for my life,” Adams said. “It’s tough to continue to do what I do. When I take off my Seahawks gear, I’m just another Black guy in the community, another black guy in the street. It’s a tough concept to swallow.”
Carroll said another message that came through from his players during Saturday’s meeting was a feeling of apprehension about speaking out against injustices for fear of retribution. Carroll specifically mentioned what happened with Colin Kaepernick after he began speaking out.
Carroll also said that while he hadn’t spoken with Seahawks owner Jody Allen in the past few days on the topic, he had in the past and felt he had her support to address the issues he brought up.
“When you’re the oldest coach in the league and you’ve been around you don’t have to be real bold to say what I said,” Carroll said. “I ain’t really afraid of what’s going on. I don’t think that was anything courageous or anything. It was just stuff that needed to be said and there’s a whole lot more than needs to be said.”
NOTES: Seattle placed DE Branden Jackson on injured reserve on Sunday. Jackson suffered a concussion in Seattle’s first scrimmage of training camp and had to be taken off the field on a backboard. Carroll said further examination revealed Jackson has a neck injury that will keep him from being able to play this season. Carroll said it’s not the same but has similarities to neck injuries that former Seahawks Kam Chancellor and Cliff Avril suffered and ended their careers. Seattle signed DE Pita Taumoepenu to take Jackson’s roster spot. … WR Paul Richardson took part in his first practice Sunday after signing with Seattle. Richardson started his career with the Seahawks before spending two seasons with Washington.
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