The Seahawks have been a team of players and coaches who haven’t been afraid the express their views. Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson did that this week.
Amid national protests over the death of George Floyd, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson spoke this week from personal experiences about race issues but the drew different reactions from their words.
On the podcast Carroll has with Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr, Flying Coach, Carroll stated it was “sickening” to watch the video of Floyd’s death. Later Carroll spoke about former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick who Seattle once entertained to sign to be Wilson’s backup.
"There was a moment in time that a young man captured. He stood up for something that he believed in. What an extraordinary moment it was that he was willing to take. I don’t know that he had any idea what the impact would be, as it turned out. But what a symbol of courage and vision…I think it was a big sacrifice, in the sense, that a young man makes. But those are the courageous moments that some guys take, and we owe a tremendous amount to him, for sure."
But the reaction to what Carroll said involved a lot of criticism. This was mainly because while the Seahawks did bring in Kaepernick for a workout in 2017 they also canceled a meeting with him in 2018 because, reportedly, Kaepernick would not say whether he would kneel for the national anthem or not.
One person who criticized Carroll was Kaepernick’s partner Nessa Diab. Diab tweeted the following:
I guess technically Carroll hasn’t kept Kaepernick from being employed everywhere in the NFL, as the tweet might imply, but maybe Carroll was afraid to bring Kaepernick in when he simply didn’t want someone who was the backup quarterback to be a distraction.
I am certainly not saying Carroll, if he is indeed the reason that the Seahawks didn’t sign Kaepernick, is right or wrong. Kaepernick should be playing in the NFL because he is talented enough to do so. But at the same time, the Seahawks are one of the two teams to have publicly thought about signing Kaepernick.
There is certainly one false narrative surrounding the same idea of Carroll not wanting players on the team who speak their minds. Seattle didn’t let Richard Sherman and Michael Bennett go because they were outspoken. Sherman was not good in the locker room anymore to a young Seahawks team. Bennett was expensive and seemed to be diminishing in production.
Russell Wilson speaks about personal experiences
Seattle’s quarterback, Russell Wilson, spoke to reporters on Wednesday but his words were not about football. Wilson said that he wanted to speak about something greater than football.
"When you think about the idea of Black Lives Matter, they do matter. The reality is that, me as a black person, people are getting murdered on the street, people are getting shot down, and the understanding that it’s not like that for every other race. It’s like that in particular for the black community. I think about my stepson, I think about my daughter, I think about our new baby boy on the way, and it’s staggering to watch these things happen right in front of our faces, so I have a heavy heart right now."
The ironic thing is that Wilson was once criticized as “not black enough.” Or so the story goes, whether the story is true or not.
Reaction to Wilson’s video conference on Wednesday has mostly been muted. Likely because Wilson’s words did not spark enough sensationalism for mainstream media to discuss. Wilson’s personal experience doesn’t sell, while Carroll’s words can be used and transformed. This is the world we live in today.