Seahawks players, organization respond to Trump's rants against NFL player protests

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Editor's note: The story contains a word some may deem offensive.

Seattle Seahawks players and management joined others from around the NFL on Saturday, responding to President Donald Trump's criticisms of players who do not stand during the national anthem.

Trump said during a speech Friday night that NFL owners should fire players who kneel during "The Star-Spangled Banner." And he suggested that fans show their disapproval of the demonstrations by walking out of the stadium in protest.

Trump reiterated his point Saturday.

"(Commissioner) Roger Goodell of NFL just put out a statement trying to justify the total disrespect certain players show to our country.Tell them to stand!" Trump tweeted.

One of the players who have sat during the anthem this season is Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett. Center Justin Britt has stood beside him, with a hand on Bennett's shoulder, for most of those games. Other players have followed Britt's example.

Throughout the day Saturday, players from around the league, the NFL, and the player's union tweeted or released statements critical of Trump directly, or by encouraging inclusivity and diversity.

The Seahawks organization released this statement Saturday night:

"We fully respect our players' use of their freedom of speech and peaceful action to highlight the existing racial and other divides in our country. Our players completely respect the military and veterans of our country; however they feel these issues need to come to the forefront."

Head coach Pete Carroll also tweeted a statement supporting the players and saying, "We can no longer remain silent."


 

 

Trump in his Friday speech used the term "son of a bitch" to describe a player who would not stand during the anthem. Bennett used that term in his response on Twitter: "My mom is a beautiful lady she has never been a bitch."

Wide receiver Doug Baldwin released a longer statement, directly critical of Trump, to 710 ESPN Seattle radio host Gee Scott.

"I’m not surprised by Trump’s comments. He has shown, since the beginning, his dehumanized nature. To think he would be anything different is to not know the reality of his presidency. He has surrounded himself with like minded people and has removed anyone who challenges him. He acts like a child craving attention and any attention will do.

Although these recent comments are not the worst things he’s said or done, I do believe that this will be a unifying moment for the sports world. And with as much influence as athletes have on the younger generation, this can be an opportunity for us to change the narrative of society and point to the president as a poor example of what you can become if you remain close minded, ignorant and uneducated.

For all the hate and negativity that has come from Trump’s presidency, I am still hopeful for justice and love to win out. As I continue to my efforts with the youth of our communities and engage with this hatred, I will resist the urge to return hate with hate and instead react in love and compassion for those who simply can not.

I encourage others to do the same.
Thank you,

Douglas Baldwin Jr"

Cornerback Richard Sherman tweeted earlier in the day: "The behavior of the President is unacceptable and needs to be addressed. If you do not Condemn this divisive Rhetoric you are Condoning it!!"

Sherman on Saturday night made a video for The Players Tribune, calling out Trump and his divisive rhetoric.

Many of his Seahawks teammates, including Bobby Wagner and Germain Ifedi, retweeted him. Cliff Avril also responded, adding, "Wow! Is this what we've come to? The 'leader' of this country continues to try to divide us and now wants to divide one of the few thing that any and everyone can come together and enjoy no matter ethnic group you are. "

Other NFL players around the league also took to social media to respond:

The head of the players union also weighed in. DeMaurice Smith says demonstrations are "protected speech" and no one should have to "choose a job that forces them to surrender their rights."

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell also responded to Trump's comments, saying in a statement, “divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all our players.”

Trump is also receiving backlash from the NBA community. Just hours after Trump's inciteful rally in Alabama, he wasted no time in taking to Twitter again, this time "withdrawing" the White House invitation to the NBA Champion Golden State Warriors after star Stephen Curry and other players said they didn't want to attend the traditional reception for champions.

"Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team. Stephen Curry is hesitating, therefore invitation is withdrawn!" Trump tweeted.

This prompted comments from LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul.

"U bum @StephenCurry30 already said he ain't going! So therefore ain't no invite. Going to White House was a great honor until you showed up!" LeBron James tweeted.

"With everything that's going on in our country, why are YOU focused on who's kneeling and visiting the White House??? #StayInYoLane" tweeted Chris Paul.

"A #POTUS whose name alone creates division and anger. Whose words inspire dissension and hatred can't possibly 'Make America Great Again'" tweeted Kobe Bryant.

© 2017 KING-TV


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