Late Wednesday evening and Thursday morning, rumors circulated that Seattle Seahawks players were considering engaging in a group protest of sorts during the singing of the national anthem before their season opener against the Miami Dolphins. On Thursday afternoon, wide receiver Doug Baldwin confirmed that the entire team will act as one during the anthem prior to the game, but the action is described not as a protest, but a “demonstration of unity.”
To express a desire to bring people together, our team will honor the country and flag in a pregame demonstration of unity.
— Doug Baldwin Jr (@DougBaldwinJr) September 8, 2016
There is no word on just what that “demonstration of unity” might be, but Seahawks players will apparently all be taking a stand together for a cause they believe in.
Of course, this news comes in the wake of 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick‘s protest of the national anthem. Kaepernick says he will not stand for the anthem until there is real change in the way people of color are treated in America. Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane is one of a few players that joined Kaepernick in refusing to stand, taking a seat during the Seahawks’ final preseason game against the Oakland Raiders.
Baldwin had previously posted to Facebook a message that he received from a friend that served in Special Forces who said he would support Baldwin and the Seahawks taking some sort of stand during the national anthem:
Here’s the full text of that post:
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.
Long snapper Nate Boyer, a former Green Beret who was in camp with the Seahawks before last season, said the Seahawks’ planned demonstration will be a powerful display of unity.
Talked to the @Seahawks What the team will do is a powerful sign of unification + respect for the Anthem + those that fight for our Freedom!
— Nate Boyer (@NateBoyer37) September 8, 2016
Boyer, who met with Kaepernick before the 49ers’ final preseason game, stood by Kaepernick’s side while the QB took a knee before the anthem in San Diego. He also urged the QB and the country to “keep moving forward.”
Source: CBS Sports / Doug Baldwin: Seahawks to honor flag, country with ‘demonstration of unity’