Two weeks ago, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick made news when he sat through the Nation Anthem before the team’s preseason game. It was not the first time he made the decision to boycott standing for the Star Spangeled Banner, but it was the first time he was in uniform, thereby making his decision much more noticeable.
After the game, Kaepernick explained that his decision to sit stems from his belief that minorities are being oppressed in the United States, and this was his way to demonstrate against that. The move quickly became a debate over whether or not Kaepernick was right in what he was doing - namely sitting during the National Anthem - and whether or not he was disrespecting service members in making this demonstration.
That conversation led to Kaepernick, along with teammate Eric Reid, to modify the demonstration by taking a knee during last week’s preseason game’s National Anthem, rather than sitting on the bench. The gesture also spread to the Seattle Seahawks, where cornerback Jeremy Lane also did not stand for the National Anthem, as well as to other sports including US Women’s National Team soccer player Megan Rapinoe, who took a knee during the National Anthem before her club team, Seattle Reign’s game earlier this week.
Now, it appears there could be something brewing that may involved the entire Seahawks team. Lane has said he will continue his own personal move, but on Thursday, Doug Baldwin sent out a tweet that seemed to indicate something more is in store:
To express a desire to bring people together, our team will honor the country and flag in a pregame demonstration of unity.— Doug Baldwin Jr (@DougBaldwinJr) September 8, 2016
What will be this “demonstration?” SB Nation’s Field Gulls adds, “Baldwin said on Wednesday that he hadn’t made a decision regarding standing or taking a knee during the anthem this weekend .” They also pointed out that LIz Mathews of 710 ESPN reported Seahawks safety Earl Thomas said on Thursday, he knew of no plans for Sunday. Could Thomas be deflecting from knowledge he does have? Could he just not have been brought into the loop? Or, are we making more out of a tweet from Baldwin than is really there?
Nate Boyer, a free agent long snapper and former US Army Special Forces Soldier, added that he had talked to “the Seahawks” (not specifically mentioning anyone), and that the team will do a “powerful sign of unification + respect for the Anthem + those that fight for our Freedom!” He then added “...While recognizing the injustices that exist in this country. It’s 9/11, we haven’t been unified for last 15 years.”
The fact that the game, which will include the Miami Dolphins as Seattle’s opponent, is going to be played on September 11 does give special meaning to anything the Seahawks may do that day. Will it be a team-wide kneeling? Will it be something else? Will the Dolphins get involved?
Sunday could be a powerful statement - but how powerful and how many people will be involved will have to be seen before the game.