Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin has not decided if he’ll join 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick — and others, including teammate Jeremy Lane — in some sort of protest related to the national anthem before Sunday’s season opener vs. the Dolphins.
Baldwin has made it clear he’s “thinking things through,” and he’s certainly aware that Sunday is Sept. 11, the 15th anniversary of the attacks on New York and Washington D.C. that changed America forever.
“Absolutely. I think that anybody should be thinking about that,” Baldwin said, per the team’s official transcript. “Even if it wasn’t September 11, the point of the protest is to get people to think. I think it’s very ironic that 15 years ago, on September 11, it was one of the most devastating times in U.S. history, but after that day we were probably the most unified we’ve ever been.
“Today, you struggle to see the unity and it’s very ironic to me that this day is coming up. It’s going to be a special day, a very significant day, but at the same time I’m looking forward to making better changes in our country.”
Baldwin said he’s spoken at length with Kaepernick, and also with many of his Seahawks teammates on issues such as police brutality and equality that Kaepernick is trying to bring to the forefront. Baldwin said he received mixed feedback after he spoke up for Kaepernick on social media but said much of it was positive, especially from military veterans.
“My grandfather being in the military, it hit home for me,” Baldwin said. “It’s the veterans who have reached out and said, that’s what they fought for, that’s what they sacrificed their lives for, to give people back home under the flag, under this country, the opportunity to stand up or sit for what they believe in. That was very heartening for me to hear that and that response from the veterans.”
Though Baldwin told reporters he’s “not sure how realistic it is” that athletes speaking out and taking stands on political issues can really affect change, he feels he’s doing the right thing by sharing his opinions and keeping his options open regarding what else he may do.
“I think the point is to bring attention and awareness to your protest, to bring attention to what’s going on,” he said. “I think that is what the issue is here. We’re missing the message in terms of what we’re talking about. It’s not necessarily about the messenger or the protest itself. It’s about what we’re pointing to. I’ll just leave it at that.”