By Gregg Bell | McClatchy News Service
RENTON — The Seahawks’ Duane Brown, DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, Bobby Wagner, Doug Baldwin, Quandre Diggs, even coach Pete Carroll. They are like much of America.
They’ve had it.
The leaders of the Seahawks—a team Carroll encourages to speak and live their minds — expressed their outrage and heartbreak.
The leading Seahawks, including recently retired wide receiver Doug Baldwin, characteristically did not sit by silently during the country’s extraordinary and sad weekend. They spoke out as the nation’s major cities shook with protests and — including in downtown Seattle — violence, fires and looting.
Such is the aftermath of a police officer’s knee to the neck of a black man who then died last week in Minneapolis.
Brown, Seattle’s Pro Bowl left tackle and second-oldest player at age 34, sharply rebuked President Donald Trump’s statement on Twitter. Trump wrote, in part, “THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd…when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
“So the men that KILLED George Floyd aren’t considered THUGS. I see,” Brown posted on Twitter. “And you can’t wait to shoot and kill someone taking a material object out of anger of injustice but there’s still “lack of evidence” to even arrest someone that ON CAMERA wrongly took a life? I see.”
Metcalf, who set an NFL record for rookie receivers in a playoff game in January, spoke solemn words in a slow, purposeful cadence in a video he posted online Saturday night.
“I watched the George Floyd video a couple days ago. And the one thing that kept sticking out to me was, I have family, friends, brothers that look like George Floyd,” Metcalf said in his post on Twitter. “And to think that being black in America can lead to that scares me, breaks my heart.”
Metcalf said he listened to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. reciting the words from the gospel song “We Shall Overcome” from the Civil Rights Movement during the 1960s.
“In America, we want all of our rights,” Metcalf said, citing Dr. King. “We want them here in America. And we want them now.”
The 22-year-old Metcalf shook his head and paused.
“The black community, we’ve just got to continue to fight and stick together, man,” he said. “Because our ancestors have been through some tough times, and they taught us how to do it.”
Lockett re-tweeted on his social-media account more than 30 posts related to Floyd’s killing and the reaction to it.
Lockett also posted this: “I don’t feel free in the land of the free.”
Diggs spoke out last week saying he wanted all four of the officers involved in the detention of Floyd charged. The one who had his knee on Floyd’s neck, Derek Chauvin, has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
Diggs spoke out this weekend against someone who told him he was a fan and loved that the safety joined the Seahawks in a trade last season — but then called Diggs “a dumb a**” and “racist *****” for posting this week about the aftermath of Floyd’s death.
“It was all good until I spoke up for my culture,” Diggs posted Saturday.
Carroll has, since he came to lead the Seahawks 10 years ago, encouraged his players to speak their minds about what’s important to them.
This weekend Carroll hailed on Twitter the statement of Joe Biden. The presumptive Democratic nominee for president condemned racial inequality in our country.
“The original sin of our country still stains our nation today,” Biden said.
Carroll shared Biden’s message to his 2.2 million followers on Twitter.
“This is truth! Thanks Joe,” Seattle’s coach wrote.
Doug Baldwin was one of the most socially active and vocal Seahawks during his career that ended following the 2018 season. The Stanford graduate and son of a career law-enforcement officer in Florida remains active civically in the Seattle area. He’s opened a community and health center in Renton. Recently he was delivering food and supplies to those who need them during the coronavirus pandemic.
Baldwin posted online Saturday that he’d been waiting to speak out about Floyd’s death.
“I keep getting asked by white people ‘what can I do?’ Well, for one, you can stop asking OTHERS what you should do and ask YOURSELF what you should do. Be empathetic. What would you do if that was your son, your brother, your husband, your father?” Baldwin wrote.
Brown has been protesting police brutality and racial inequality in the United States since he joined the Seahawks during the 2017 season.
“If you know the details of what happened (in Minneapolis), it’s a tragic situation. It’s just an awful situation that could have been prevented.
“I feel like, someone called the cops on him for, potentially, writing a bad check. And he ended up dying, on camera, unarmed and in handcuffs. So, I mean, it seems like this continues to happen, every year, at some point.
“I don’t know when it will change.”