It looks like the Seattle Seahawks’ plan to sit out the national anthem at Sunday’s season opener might be a no-go.
Earlier this week, a few of the team’s players hinted at the possibility of staging an en masse protest during the singing of the “Star-Spangled Banner.” The move was inspired by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who began sitting during the national anthem to protest the ongoing issues of police brutality and racial injustice in America.
The quarterback later chose to take a knee, rather than sit, during the anthem after speaking with former Green Beret Nate Boyer and fellow teammate Eric Reid, Atlanta Black Star reports. This way, he could still get his point across without offending members of the U.S. military.
Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane followed Kaepernick’s lead by refusing to stand for the anthem at a preseason game last week, after which details of a planned team-wide protest began to surface. Linebacker Bobby Wagner told reporters Thursday that if one teammate chose to protest, the team would follow in an act of solidarity.
“Anything we want to do, it’s not going to be individual,” Wagner said. “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.”
The linebacker gave no additional details on how the team might demonstrate, but said, “Whatever we decide to do will be a big surprise.”
Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin said he was thinking of sitting out the national anthem, too.
“I have (considered it),” Baldwin told reporters before the Seahawks practice Wednesday afternoon. “I want to make sure I get all of my ducks in a row before I do so.’’
However, Baldwin sent out a tweet late Thursday evening announcing that he and his team would “honor the country and flag” in a public demonstration during Sunday’s game. The team will take on the Miami Dolphins in their season opener — which falls on the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
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
The receiver’s cryptic message still has fans wondering if the team will bow out and stand for the national anthem or carry out their protest, but in a more “respectful” way. The manner in which they had previously planned to demonstrate was unclear from the start.
what's that mean though??
— ΛᄂΣX☄️🌎 (@splashylopez) September 8, 2016
Honor the country and flag by standing with hand over heart? Kneeling with heads bowed?
— Jimmy 🎷📈😜 (@itsjimmyw) September 8, 2016
By doing what?
— Former "Clump of Cells" (@AlexaShrugged) September 8, 2016
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has since backed his players and their right to stand up (or sit down) for what they believe in. It’s unclear if the whole team was on board to participate in the previously planned protest.
Because the Seahawks’ first game falls on the anniversary of 9/11, it’s likely that the impact of their demonstration was taken into consideration.
“I think that anybody should be thinking about that (Sept. 11),” Baldwin said. “Even if it wasn’t September 11, the point of the protest is to get people to think. I think it’s very ironic to me that 15 years ago on Sept. 11 was one of the most devastating times in U.S. history and after that day we were probably the most unified that we have ever been. And today we struggle to see the unity.”
“So it’s going to be a special day, a very significant day, but at the same time I am looking forward to the many changes and differences, the changes we can make in this country to make better changes in our country,” he added.