Seahawks cancel Saturday’s practice, joining ongoing protests by athletes
The Seahawks have joined several other teams across the NFL as well as teams in the NBA, WNBA, MLS and MLB in canceling games and practices as part of protests against racial injustices and police violence in the U.S. after a Black man in Wisconsin was shot seven times in the back by police officers.
Earlier this week, the Mariners opted not to play the San Diego Padres. Now, the Seahawks won’t practice on Saturday.
Members of the media were originally going to be interviewing multiple players, but it was then announced that they would instead be speaking to head coach Pete Carroll. Carroll’s conference started over an hour later than expected as a team meeting ran long and ultimately ended with the team deciding not to hold practice.
Carroll spoke for roughly 15 minutes and during his talk, he did not discuss football, but rather what his players – who are predominantly Black – feel as Black men in America.
“Our players are screaming at us, ‘Can you feel me? Can you see me? Can you hear me?'” Carroll said. “They just want to be respected. They just want to be accepted like all of our white children and families want to be. It’s no different because we’re all the same.”
Carroll, who is turning 69 in September, said he has been coaching in some form since he was 13 and has learned more in the last six years or so than he has the rest of that time. He said that white people in America don’t understand racism while “Black people know the truth. They know exactly what is going on. White people don’t know.” He also said that many of his players “are scared to death” as Black men living in the U.S.
“They’re crying out – again – and calling for us white people to figure it out ad to listen and to fix all of the obvious problems that we know,” Carroll said. ” … We’ve got to do the right thing and we’ve got to do the right thing by caring for people and loving people because they deserve it. It’s as simple as that.”
Carroll also described many of the racial discrepancies and injustices he sees across the country and the country’s history and said that he hopes his message gets through to as many people as he can, but specifically called out his fellow coaches to make a difference.
“Coaches, I’m calling on you,” he said. “All coaches, let’s step up. No more being quiet, no more being afraid to talk (about these) topics, no more ‘I’m a little uncomfortable’ or ‘I might lose my job over this because I’ve taken a stand here or there. Screw it. We can’t do that anymore.”
Carroll’s comments come one day after Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson told 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant that if the team had a game scheduled this week, it would not have been played.
“Yeah, for sure. I think just witnessing what happened to Jacob (Blake in Wisconsin) and everything else and all the things that have added up to this, it’s devastating, truly devastating just to watch that,” Wilson said. “And it’s not like this hasn’t been going on for years. That’s the scary part and sad part. The difference now is we get to see it every day because of social media and phones and everything else.”
Carroll said that a big part of change is having everyone vote who is eligible and that as of Saturday, every Seahawks player will be eligible to vote.
Carroll’s entire press conference is available on the Seahawks’ official YouTube page here.