RENTON — 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, Calif.
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 percent 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” by every, single American eligible to on Nov. 3.
Carroll spoke specifically to white Americans. He demanded people listen to Blacks.
“They are crying out,” Carroll said.
“Black people know the truth. They know exactly what is going on. It’s white people that don’t know.
“It’s not that they’re not telling us. They’ve been telling us the stories. We know what’s right and what”s wrong. We just have not been open to listen to it. We’ve been unwilling to accept the real history, and been taught a false history of what happened in this country. We have been basing things on false premises. And it has not been about equality for all. …
“This is a humanity issue that we are dealing with. This is a white-people’s issue to get over it and learn what’s going on and figure it out the issue to get over. And start loving. Everybody. …
“Our players are screaming at us: ‘Can you feel me? Can you see me? Can you hear me?’ They just want to be respected. They just want to be accepted, just like all of our white families and children want to be. It’s no different, because we are all the same.
“There’s a lot of people that don’t see it that way. But there’s a lot of people that do. And I’m hoping that from this point forward maybe there’s a new door to open for us, and we can walk through it together with the thought of doing what’s right.
“What’s right is treating people equally.”
The 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 been so deep and so rich in the exchanges with our players and how they’ve taken this opportunity to teach us more and deeper about what the life of a Black man is like in America — black man and woman,” Carroll said. “And they’ve been compelled to speak out more than ever…which we need to hear.
“White people don’t know. They don’t know enough. And they need to be coached up. They need to be educated about what the heck is going on in this world.
“The Black people can’t scream any more. They can’t march any more. They can’t bare their souls any more to what they’ve lived with for hundreds of years. …
“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.
“They are crying out. Again,” Carroll said. “They are calling for us — white people — to figure it out. And to listen. And to fix all the obvious problems that we know. …
“We’ve got to do the right thing. We’ve got to do the right thing by caring for people and loving people. Because they deserve it. Simple as that.”
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, (general manager) 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.”
• The Seahawks are scheduled to have a scrimmage on Sunday, and the team says that remains on.
• The Seahawks are officially bringing back Paul Richardson to add depth to an injury-depleted wide receiver position after he had a tryout with the team earlier this week.