The players had already voted not to practice.

Now they are voting for change.

Pete Carroll walked in front of a video camera with a Seahawks-logoed background.

He took off his mask.

He then looked into the camera and told a Zoom audience of media and fans: “I’m going to talk to you guys about something that’s on my heart.”

For more than 14 minutes, Seattle’s 68-year-old coach didn’t say one word about football or training camp or the upcoming opening game just two weeks and one day away—other than to mention he’s been coaching “since I was 13 years old coaching Pop Warner kids” in Marin County, California.

For 14 minutes, 26 seconds, he took no questions. He described the pain and fear Blacks, including his Seahawks players, live in daily (as of June, 70 of the 90 players on the team were Black).

He described the most immediate action they are taking for change.

They all chose to be 100% registered to vote for Election Day instead of practicing Saturday.

Likening it to the March on Washington headlined by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, Carroll called for “60 days to march, a commitment to vote” Nov. 3.

Carroll spoke specifically to white Americans.

He demanded people listen to Blacks.

Now.

 

 

“They are crying out,” Carroll said.

“Black people know the truth. They know exactly what is going on. White people don’t know.

“This is a white-people issue to get over… Maybe there’s a new door to walk through, to do what’s right.

“And what’s right is to treat people equally.

Carroll, a believer and preacher of grit in sports, marveled at the resiliency of Blacks in America. Now. For the last half century. For more than 400 years.

“Never before this year has it ever been this deep, this rich with our players to teach us what it’s like to be a Black man in America….white people don’t know,” Carroll said. “The Black people can’t scream any more.

“Can you imagine how long Black people have hung on with the belief that it’s going to be better?” Carroll said.

“Racism is out the door. Get rid of it.”

It was one of the more extraordinary press conferences one will ever see in the NFL, whose teams are run by mostly white, billionaire owners.

Owners the players are now not telling but shouting at to act.

All-Pro safety Jamal Adams went online after Carroll’s message to thank him and his new team, for listening.

Adams posted on Twitter: “Big thank you to Coach Pete, John Schneider & the entire Seahawks organization for really hearing us as Black athletes. This is a special place, like I’ve said before where everyone’s willing to learn and understand that wrong is wrong, and right is right.”

 

 

Schneider is the team’s general manager.

The Seahawks’—and professional athletes’—demands for action as part of the Black Lives Matter movement gained renewed momentum this week after a white police officer in Wisconsin shot Black man Jacob Blake seven times in the back in front of his family.

Friday, quarterback Russell Wilson told KIRO-AM radio if the Seahawks had a game this week they would not have played it, to further the Black Lives Matter movement into action.

Saturday morning, with little notice, the team changed its plan to have Chris Carson, Tre Flowers and Jarran Reed on remote Zoom press conferences.

Carroll replaced them on the online call with the media.

He was more than 90 minutes late starting it.

Following their daily, morning walk-through practice the players massed on the grass berm adjacent to the practice fields for a lengthy team meeting.

It’s the berm on which a couple thousand fans would be crowded onto each training-camp day if not for the coronavirus pandemic closing all practices this month.

The players decided during that meeting to not practice Saturday afternoon. They are scheduled to have a scrimmage on Sunday, and the team says that remains on.

At the end of the team meeting, Carroll got in front of the remote camera and gave his extraordinary call to act.

Meanwhile, 2 1/2 hours and longer into the meeting, a handful of Seahawks players—white and Black—were still talking in a circle on the practice field.

Back inside the team facility in front of the remote camera, Carroll said he believes “extraordinary things” will happen in our country.

Then the coach turned away from the microphone.

“I’m out,” he said.

And he walked off.

Friday, Wilson said on KIRO-AM radio: “I think the world is truly seeing the ugliness of society, at times.

“I think what’s truly disappointing is just know that we, as athletes, try to make a difference, and sometimes people don’t want to listen and don’t want to recognize that could have been us. That could be us. I think that’s a real reality.

“So I think for us, as a team, for the Seahawks, we are definitely discussing, what do we do next? How do we make a change? How do we cause movement and how do we make a difference? We are in the midst of all that right now.

“We don’t have weeks, and we don’t have months, we don’t have years to change it. We’ve got to all do it together—and we’ve got to do it now. We need change now. We need people to make a difference now.”

Later Friday, Seahawks safety Quandre Diggs said it was time for NFL team owners, most of them white billionaires, to act.

“I want the owners to get on board with us and understand our message,” Diggs said.

“I mean, I’m tired of them and I’m tired of teams kind of putting out PR statements.

“Let’s put some action in the words, you know what I mean? Let’s get it out in these neighborhoods. Let’s try to get these cops and people better training. If these guys are professionals, then they need to do professional work.

“I just don’t think that’s the thing.”

 

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