Leading up to the opening kickoff of the new NFL season, which fell on the 15th anniversary of 9/11, members of the Seattle Seahawks started dropping hints that the team would have some sort of demonstration for the national anthem. Many members of the media assumed that they’d join in with the many others who are supporting Colin Kaepernick’s protest against social injustice and police brutality. It’s safe to say that was a premature assumption.
When the National Anthem played, all 53 members of the Seahawks active roster and some coaches locked their arms in unison for what they feel was a demonstration of “unity.” In actuality, their actions lacked any real purpose in the current national discussion over the national anthem and police brutality and surely wasn’t worth half a week of speculation.
The intentions of the Seattle Seahawks players were surely pure and genuine in the beginning. But they spent half a week building up anticipation for some big moment that ended up being nothing more than an attempt to appease both sides of an issue and walking a tight line between both protestors and defenders of the National Anthem. It’s almost as bad as Cam Newton’s likely brand-based thinking that we should move past the concept of race.
Early reports claimed that the team was considering kneeling during the National Anthem with their hands placed over their hearts. If that isn’t the definition of pandering to both sides, I’m not sure what is.
“In this country we’ve gone through so much. The African American community, we’ve gone through a lot,” Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson said, according to the News Tribune. “Not every police officer is a bad police officer. Not every African American is a bad person.”
“When I look at our football team and the people we have in the locker room, we have so many guys who come from different socioeconomic statuses, different races, different relationship situations and all that, and mixed kids. Just a lot of different situations. When we look across the board at our team, we really know how to love one another, we really know how to respect one another. It comes down to appreciating one another, understanding that God made everybody different, made everybody unique in his own image and ultimately being able to go to the idea of love.”
The first response to people speaking up about black lives is always to try and calm everyone down and go back to acting as if nothing is wrong. The reality of the world that we lives in is that there are many things to be passionate about. While that passion may be intimidating to some, we shouldn’t try and sweep it under the rug by promoting an image of peace we clearly haven’t reached yet. Doing so only makes it that much harder to actually make it there one day.