EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. Doug Baldwin says the death threats he described to Showtime television last week in the wake of his comments and stance on America’s racial-relations issues led to his agent calling for him to have personal security to ensure his safety.
"The issue was more so prior to our demonstration the first game. That was a more concerning time,” the Seahawks’ top wide receiver told me in the locker room following Sunday’s 27-17 win here over the New York Jets.
Baldwin was referring to him talking about the Seahawks’ demonstration of unity last month but didn’t detail before the opening game Sept. 11 against Miami. Seattle’s players, coaches and staff ended up locking arms during the national anthem, a gesture and alternative to sitting or kneeling during anthems that other NFL players have done to protest race relations and police killings in our country.
The Seahawks did it again Sunday, for the fourth consecutive game, before kickoff here in the Meadowlands.
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“My agent was worried about me, wanting to get security and stuff. That’s when we started dealing with those issues,” Baldwin said of threats on his life he described to “60 Minutes Sports” for a feature that will air on Showtime Tuesday at 8 p.m.
“But now it hasn’t been as serious.
"You deal with it as it comes. There are always going to be people out there that don’t necessarily agree and want to take it to another level. I just handle myself accordingly."
I asked Baldwin at his locker in the Meadowlands Sunday if he indeed got extra security last month.
“We took care of it,” he said.
Is that a yes?
"We took care of it,” he reiterated.
Baldwin had 20 catches entering Sunday, his most through three games of his career. But he had just four catches on four targets for 54 yards Sunday, as Russell Wilson featured tight end Jimmy Graham for six catches and 113 yards, Graham’s second-most yards receiving since he joined the Seahawks last year.
Baldwin’s most impressive catch when he ran down the right hash mark and held onto the Wilson’s dart pass at the Jets 5-yard line despite a mammoth hit in his neck by the shoulder pad of New York safety Calvin Pryor. Pryor wrongly got flagged for a targeting foul on the play.
“How did I hang onto it?” Baldwin said, repeating a question. “It’s my job.”
He got chiropractic adjustments on the training table behind the Seahawks’ bench during the ensuing defensive possession. He said of his neck later: “It’s fine.”
He said he hadn’t been hit like that “in a long time.”
As for his many critics who have ripped him for speaking out on police killings and the Seahawks’ demonstration of unity during a national anthem that led to the mayor of the Pierce County city of DuPont to cancel a Seahawks rally in that town, Baldwin said: “I have a good comeback for it, but it’s not a humble comeback. So I don’t want to say it.
“You are right. I am going to stick to football. But I am also going to continue to speak out.
“They just have to suck it up and deal with it.”