The NBA made a major statement this week, striking for three days in response to the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis. The NFL doesn’t start for a few weeks, but Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, one of the league’s most high-profile players, believes his team would have taken a similar stance.
The Seahawks have been extremely outspoken throughout the offseason, as social justice protests have risen to the forefront in the country in response to various instances of police violence against the Black community. Just today, head coach Pete Carroll doubled down on his call for the country to listen and hear the experiences of Black people. If tomorrow was the start of the NFL season, Wilson says the Seahawks would be prepared to sit out the team’s game.
The NBA is a very popular league, and its league-wide strike was a historic moment for team sports in this country. NFL players have taken some similar action, with many teams cancelling practices in order to protest, register players to vote, and engage in their communities in other ways. A canceled game in the country’s biggest sport would have sent things to another level.
“Yeah, for sure,” Wilson said, when asked if his team would’ve followed the NBA’s lead, during an interview with 710 ESPN Radio in Seattle. “Witnessing what happened to Jacob and all the things that have added up to this, it’s devastating, it’s truly devastating just to watch that.”
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) August 28, 2020
“Us as a team, the Seahawks, we’re definitely discussing what do we do next, how do we make a change, how do we cause a movement and how do we make a difference?” Russell Wilson continued. “We’re in the midst of that right now.”
Wilson isn’t alone in this, either. NFL players have reportedly floated that a strike during the season could still happen.
More, from the Seattle Seahawks QB:
“This isn’t like this hasn’t been going on for years, that’s the scary part and the sad part. The difference now is we get to see it every day because of social media and phones and everything else. The world is truly seeing the ugliness of society at times, and what is really disappointing is just knowing that we as athletes try to make a difference, and sometimes people don’t want to listen and don’t want to recognize that that could have been us, that could be us. That’s a real reality. Us as a team, the Seahawks, we’re definitely discussing what do we do next, how do we make a change, how do we cause a movement and how do we make a difference? We’re in the midst of that right now.
“We don’t have weeks, 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, and we’re calling on people like yourselves to help us along the way too.”
Russell Wilson reflected on the things that he was told as a child, like avoiding certain areas, not putting his hands in his pockets, and how to handle being pulled over when he was old enough to drive. Now, he says he is preparing to share those same pieces of advice to his children, as the world has not changed drastically for the Black community in that time.
“The reality is the reality, and it’s an unfortunate one. So how do we change that reality and how do we have hope for a better day, hope for change, hope for a life where our children can go to school together and go to the mall together and go to the game together and be in the same car together, and drive their children, like Jacob, and be asleep in their bed like Breonna (Taylor), and simply go on a run like Ahmaud Arbery, you think about that, and the reality is that this is all over America, this isn’t just in one location. This isn’t just in one place. It definitely hits home for me.”
The Seattle Seahawks are scheduled to open their season at the Atlanta Falcons on Sept. 13.