The Seattle Seahawks are continuing to use their platform to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
The team announced Friday players and coaches will honor victims of systemic racism and police brutality during the 2020 NFL season with helmet decals and hat patches. Seahawks players will also be wearing “We Want Justice” T-shirts during pregame warmups.
Veteran linebacker K.J. Wright organized the call to action for the latter.
“As athletes and as Seahawks, we’re definitely looked up to, we definitely have a voice, we definitely have influence, and I think that’s going to be very important to see that as athletes we do stand for something,” Wright told the team’s website. “It’s bigger than football, so we’ve got to keep this going, let everyone see it, whether it sparks the conversation between a Black person and a white person, or whether a mayor sees this or a governor sees it to just get their minds right and see what we’re asking for and what we demand.
“We all know what’s right, and we all know what’s wrong. That’s what we’re doing, we’re fighting for what’s right, we’re fighting injustice to make this country better.”
Wide receiver D.K. Metcalf, a Mississippi native, will have a decal reading “Emmett Till” on his helmet. The 14-year-old Till, a Black boy from Mississippi, became a symbol of the Civil Rights Movement after he was brutally murdered in 1955 for allegedly flirting with a white woman.
Other helmet decals for players include “Black Lives Matter” (Shaquill Griffin), “George Floyd” (Ethan Pocic) and ”Breonna Taylor” (Ben Burr-Kirven). The phrases “End Racism,” “It takes All of Us” and “Stop Hate” are also options for players.
In addition to Floyd and Taylor, the team will be honoring a slew of victims of police brutality, both locally and nationally — though not all of their names will be featured on helmets.
The Seahawks have also been preaching the need for Americans to exercise their voting rights. After a lengthy team meeting discussing social justice issues Saturday last week, the team voted to cancel practice for the day. Players who were not registered to vote in November’s presidential election used the time to do so.
Metcalf, free safety Quandre Diggs and linebacker Shaquem Griffin are among the players registered to vote for the first time.
“I think a lot of people have had that idea of, ‘My vote is only one vote, it doesn’t mean anything,’” Diggs said. “But think of the millions of other people who are thinking the same thing, and how those votes can add up and how it can have an effect on the election if you think voting isn’t important, think of the people before you who took time and protested and fought to get us to have this basic right to go out and vote.”
Coach Pete Carroll last week delivered an impassioned, 15-minute plea imploring white people and coaches to listen to the pain of the Black community. He didn’t take any questions after the speech.
“Black people know the truth,” Carroll said. “They know exactly what’s going on. It’s white people that don’t know. And it’s not that they’re not telling us. They’ve been telling us the stories of what we know is right and wrong. We just have not been open to listening. We’ve been unwilling to accept the real history. We’ve been taught a false history of what happened in this country. We’ve been basing stuff on false premises and it’s not been about equality for all. It’s not been about freedom for all. It’s not been about opportunity for all. And it needs to be. This is a humanity issue we’re dealing with. This is a white people’s issue to get over with and learn what’s going on and to figure it out and start loving everybody that’s a part of our country.”
The shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man from Wisconsin, two weekends ago reignited conversations about racial oppression and inequity in the country.
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