SEATTLE – Expectation is growing that several members of the Seattle Seahawks -- possibly the entire team -- may engage in a demonstration during the national anthem Sunday before their game against the Miami Dolphins.
It could make quite a statement as the Seahawks at home open the season on the 15th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks.
“To express a desire to bring people together, our team will honor the country and flag in a pregame demonstration of unity,” Doug Baldwin tweeted Thursday.
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
Baldwin initially said Wednesday he was considering joining the protest started by 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Baldwin's tweet comes a day after linebacker Bobby Wagner said he wasn’t sure if he would sit during the anthem. But he told the Seattle Times “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.”
During Thursday’s regularly scheduled press conference, safety Earl Thomas was blunt when asked about it.
“I can’t speak for Doug when it comes to stuff like that,” said Thomas. He added that he hadn't heard anything about discussions regarding a team demonstration.
“Right now we’re just focusing on the Dolphins,” said quarterback Russell Wilson when asked the same question. Defensive end Cliff Avril also played dodgeball.
“I don’t know what other guys are doing, but I do know we’re here to talk about the Dolphins,” said Avril.
So far, cornerback Jeremy Lane is the only Seahawk to join the movement. He sat when the national anthem was played during Seattle’s final preseason game against the Oakland Raiders last week.
Seattle Reign and U.S. Women's National soccer team star Megan Rapinoe has also taken part, dropping to a knee during the anthem before a game last Sunday. But on Wednesday in Washington, D.C., the Washington Spirit organization pre-empted her by choosing to play the anthem before the teams came out of the locker room. The Spirit specifically cited Rapinoe's protest as the reason for playing the anthem early.
The sit-down and kneel-down protests have drawn both praise and opposition from the public. Most commonly, critics have said it dishonors military veterans, although some veterans have expressed their support for Kaepernick's movement.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said he doesn't agree with the protest but supports players "when they want to see change in society."
Kaepernick's jersey shot up this week to the No. 1 seller on NFL.com, a position normally reserved for the league's top stars. Kaepernick will start the season as the backup in San Francisco.
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