There was no national spotlight shining on the city of DuPont on Saturday. Instead only sunlight poured through the city’s red and yellow hued trees as residents gathered at the city’s Clocktower Park to celebrate the Seattle Seahawks before Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints.
That wasn’t the case a month ago when Mayor Michael Courts announced the cancellation of the city’s Sept. 10 rally over concern some Seahawks players would protest the national anthem and disrespect the flag before the team’s regular season opener.
The decision to cancel the rally prompted a small uproar among some residents and some City Council members, who took to social media to criticize the last-minute decision. As word spread, local and national news organizations including CBS Sports, Fox Sports and USA Today picked up the story, making the cancellation national news.
Courts later apologized for canceling the rally after the players instead showed unity during the Sept. 11 game by locking arms during the national anthem.
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The only media at Saturday’s rally were a News Tribune reporter and a Seattle television cameraman. That was just fine for Courts, who prefers to be off the national radar.
Wearing a personalized Seahawks jersey and hat, Courts was joined by his wife and their two dachshunds, also in personalized blue jerseys.
“I’m an original Seahawks fan,” said the retired Army colonel who spent 30 years in the military.
Courts remembers when Seattle got its professional football team and voted on the name when he was in high school, he said. He attended the team’s first game with his dad.
While other South Sound cities tout support for the Seahawks, DuPont is the only one in recent memory to host a Seahawks organization-sponsored rally.
In January, members of the Blue Thunder drumline, team mascot Blitz, the Sea Gals, former safety Jordan Babineaux, and Tacoma-native and retired Seahawks cornerback Marcus Trufant descended on the city to rally fans before the first round of the NFL playoffs.
The city was chosen to host the rally because of its strong fan base and its proximity to Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
Saturday’s rally marked the third year the city has organized a Seahawks rally.
Those who came walked between tables sponsored by local businesses while children had their faces painted in Seahawks green and blue. They also gathered in an open area of the park for the city’s annual Seahawks photo, where people line up to create a giant “12” to show fan support. A fire official snapped the shot from the top of a firetruck ladder.
People also snapped photos in front of University Place resident Steve Huebner’s modified 2003 Chevy S10 pickup that he calls Red Hawk. A member of the “Wheels of Boom” — a group of car enthusiasts who love the Hawks — Huebner brings his customized Seahawks truck to community events.
“Anything for the Seahawks,” he said.
At the event with her daughter Marissa, son J.C., and 5-month-old miniature longhair dachshund Lucy — in her own personalized jersey — DuPont resident Samantha Tatum said they were happy to support the city.
“This is a really great community, and I think we got a little bit of a bad rap before,” Tatum said. “I’m glad everyone was able to come together in the end.”