RENTON — Encouraging his players to be active and outspoken on social issues and in the community is part of the foundation to Pete Carroll’s program in Seattle.
With that comes managing the balance between those issues away from the game and the product the Seahawks are putting on the field.
That’s where Carroll and his team stand headed into Sunday’s game with Indianapolis. Seattle has been at the forefront of the conversation regarding last week’s national anthem protests and the Seahawks’ decision to remain in the locker room prior to their game against Tennessee. Carroll and some of his players have appeared on various national television outlets in recent days, laying out the reasons for their actions.
But they’re also a team that needs a victory after dropping two of three to start the season.
“I think that last week was about making a statement and I think moving forward, it’s about making a difference. I think that our players sense that, our coaches sense that, that we’d really like to focus and make sure football is really at hand and that we are doing everything we can,” Carroll said Wednesday. “We did last week as well, with another issue to deal with. I think it is going to be different this week. I know we already feel like it is different. There is nothing lost in the sincerity of the statements that were made. Nothing lost in the willingness to make a difference as we move forward. But it is really important for all of us. We feel it.”
Seattle has reason for focusing on the quality of its play, sitting at 1-2 after last week’s 33-27 loss at Tennessee. The Seahawks have been inconsistent on offense with just two offensive touchdowns through the first 10 quarters of the season and have allowed a handful of uncommonly big plays on defense.
But the conversations regarding social issues off the field have proven difficult to just push aside.
“It’s a challenge. Even if you think it can’t distract you it can subliminally distract you in a way where you don’t even notice it,” center Justin Britt said. “I think the ones that are speaking up and being the leaders in the category are the ones that are really good at controlling their mind and controlling their focus and concentration and I think they’re doing a really good job.”
Most of those who have served as Seattle’s spokesmen have been with the team for a number of years, whether it’s Michael Bennett, Richard Sherman or Doug Baldwin.
“It is difficult because there is a lot of emotion tied into it, so I do agree with him in that there was a time for a statement and there could still be time for statement,” Baldwin said. “But there is also time for moving forward and finding some resolution. I think that is what we are all aiming for, is finding resolution, finding the next stop, the next step, and really just advancing our society.