The controversy surrounding the NFL's national-anthem policy rages on, from Washington, D.C., to, yes, the shores of Lake Washington.
On the same day President Trump revoked his invitation of the Philadelphia Eagles to the White House to commemorate their Super Bowl victory, a prominent Seahawks veteran who has protested during the anthem the last two seasons said the issue remains subject of locker-room talk among players in Seattle.
And, left tackle Duane Brown added of Seahawks and the anthem policy, "there are a lot of guys unhappy about it."
Brown, an 11-year veteran, says the league's new anthem policy owners approved last month is "dismissive."
Teammate Doug Baldwin has called the league "tone deaf" for giving the commissioner Roger Goodell power to punish team personnel who are on the field for the anthem but do not stand for it. Baldwin said two weeks ago Trump was "an idiot," after the president suggested players who protest for social equality during the anthem at games should not remain in this country.
The NFL' anthem policy enacted last month also has an out-of-sight-out-of-mind provision: players and team personnel that don't want to stand for the anthem can stay in their locker room during it.
"I don't like it. I don't like it," Brown said Monday. "I think it's dismissive. I don't think (players' reasons for protesting, racial and social inequality and the need for police reform, have) ever been properly been acknowledged.
"There was no one that was consulted with or talked to about the matter" from the players' side, Brown said.
He said the Seahawks continue to talk in their locker room during organized team activities about what to do this season during anthems. The OTAs continue at team headquarters Tuesday and end Thursday. Next week, the team has its mandatory veteran minicamp. Then training camp begins July 26 in Renton.
Baldwin, coach Pete Carroll and quarterback Russell Wilson have all said whatever the Seahawks decide to do during the anthem all Seahawks—players, coaches and team staff members on the field for games—will be unified. They vow there will not be a handful of players in the locker room while the rest of the team is on the field standing for the anthem during Seattle's 2018 season.
'We've discussed it amongst ourselves," Brown said. "We are discussing to see how we are going to handle it as a team.
"But I don't agree with it, at all. ... We are still talking about it. But there are a lot of guys unhappy about it. So, we'll see."
Brown was asked if he had to play a game tomorrow under the new anthem policy, what would he do?
"I don't have to play tomorrow," he said. "So, still figuring it out."
The Eagles were to visit the White House on Tuesday for Trump to celebrate their Super Bowl win in February. Such a visit with the president is customary for champions of American college and professional sports. But many veteran players from various sports who disagree with this president's policies, persona and rhetoric have skipped the event for their championship teams.
The Philadelphia Daily News and Inquirer reported Monday fewer than 10 people from the Eagles franchise planned to be at the White House on Tuesday. The scheduled attendees reportedly included team owner Jeffrey Lurie and coach Doug Pederson.
Trump canceled the Eagles' visit less than 24 hours before the event was scheduled to begin on the White House's South Lawn.
“The Philadelphia Eagles are unable to come to the White House with their full team to be celebrated tomorrow,” Trump said in a statement released late Monday. “They disagree with their President because he insists that they proudly stand for the National Anthem, hand on heart, in honor of the great men and women of our military and the people of our country. The Eagles wanted to send a smaller delegation, but the 1,000 fans planning to attend the event deserve better.
“These fans are still invited to the White House to be part of a different type of ceremony—one that will honor our great country, pay tribute to the heroes who fight to protect it, and loudly and proudly play the National Anthem. I will be there at 3:00 p.m. with the United States Marine Band and the United States Army Chorus to celebrate America.”
Former Eagles wide receiver Torrey Smith, now with the Carolina Panthers, had this rebuttal to Trump's statement:
The Seahawks traded Michael Bennett, the Pro Bowl defensive end who began sitting during the anthem at Seahawks games last August, to the Eagles in March. He has not been attending Philadelphia's voluntary OTAs this offseason. He almost assuredly would not have been at Tuesday's ceremony.
Brown joined Bennett in sitting during anthems after Brown arrived in a trade with the Houston Texans on Oct. 31. Brown has said he believes one of the reasons his long tenure in Houston and relationship with owner Bob McNair soured was when he protested during the anthem before a Texans game at New England in 2016, while he was recovering from a quadriceps injury.
As Brown spoke Monday at Seahawks headquarters, it was clear this anthem issue—and more to the point, the issues in our society that are the reasons for players protesting—are not going away anytime soon. Especially inside Seattle's locker room.