Richard Sherman of NFL players' protest: "We will not be bullied by the president of the United States"
RENTON Not surprisingly, Richard Sherman is not backing down from Donald Trump.
“Last week was a pivotal moment for the league, in general, to stand to show continuity and to show togetherness, and to show that we will not be bullied, in a sense, by the President of the United States and his words,” the Seahawks’ star said Wednesday.
Sherman is still ticked over the president saying at a rally in Alabama on Friday NFL owners should “fire” players that protest during the national anthem and get rid of any “son of a bitch” that does that.
“We will not be divided by those words,” Sherman said. “And I think that was awesome.”
Sherman’s comments were part of the three-time All-Pro cornerback’s response when asked what the Seahawks will do next, for Sunday night’s national-showcase game against the Indianapolis Colts in Seattle.
The Stanford graduate sounded far beyond the talk of a football player.
"Honestly, that’s not the most relevant thing, what I think we should do on Sunday," Sherman said. "What I would like to see is the inequality and the divisiveness stop. I would like racism and bigotry to stop. If that stopped, then the demonstrations can stop. So my message to everyone out there is, hey, let’s stop the racism, bigotry and inequality and there’s nothing for these players to protest."
Last weekend before their loss at Tennessee, every one of the Seahawks stayed in their locker room during the anthem. It was a team-wide extension of the protest Michael Bennett started during the anthem played prior to the preseason opener on Aug. 13, to raise awareness and chase for the way minorities are treated in our country and its need for police reform.
Wednesday, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll talked about the need to move forward, and back to football, without losing sight or momentum of the players’ cause.
“I think that last week was about making a statement. And I think moving forward, it’s about making a difference,” Carroll said.
“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. 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. Everybody wants to really do everything we can to make sure the games that we play are going to be played the best we can possibly play them and with all the focus it takes and all of that. There is time. There is time to do other things. I hope that you will see that across the board.”
Sherman sat out practice to rest his latest itemized ailment on the midweek practice-participation report, and Achilles injury that won’t keep him out of Sunday’s game--he hasn’t missed a game yet in his career. So he had time to expound on Trump’s comments, and where the Seahawks’ and NFL players’ movements may go next.
Asked what the Seahawks may do during Sunday night’s anthem, Sherman said: “That’s a great question. That’s still to be discussed.
“Each week will be different; I’m sure guys will do different things. But I think the message came across, and I think guys are going to look for more ways to get involved and make a difference in other ways.”
The Seahawk whose involvement most impressed Sherman--and, it sounds like, the entire team--was quarterback Russell Wilson.
The face of the franchise with an $87.6 million contract, Wilson stood in front of teammates before the game against the Titans. Sherman says Wilson fully, genuinely joined the movement with “very human, very vulnerable” message to his teammates.
“I don’t think he was never not in the effort,” Sherman said, “but that was him being more active than he was in the past.
“At times in this league, the quarterbacks are looked at differently obviously for various reasons: They touch the ball every play; a lot of times they’re the most recognizable names and faces on the team; and they have certain brands to protect in a way and certain images to uphold. You understand that. You understand that as players that you don’t hear about the biggest-name players in our league, until recently, obviously, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers have both spoken on the issue since. But they’re very cautious about what they say and what they do.
“I think that (Wilson) opening up and understanding that this was a bigger issue and that it will have an effect not only on him, but his family and his kids, kind of woke him up.
“And I think that’s awesome. I think that he was very human, he was very vulnerable talking to the team. And I think that was a huge moment for him, and I was incredibly proud of him.”
Wilson, publicly at least, has voiced his support for Bennett’s stance during anthems, and his cause of seeking social justice. But he’s also stayed someone centric and guarded--and now Sherman is saying he’s been somewhat that way in front of the team, as well.
“I mean, he was just giving his suggestions about what he thinks we can do as a team, together. And we supported what he said.
“But obviously, there are 53 guys on the team, probably 100 or so if you include coaches and practice squad, so we had to do something that made everybody comfortable.”
That’s why the Seahawks stayed inside during the anthem, to absolve those teammates that did not feel comfortable sitting or kneeling or making any other gesture other than standing during “The Star Spangled Banner.” And to be sure there were Seahawks who felt that way, of having to choose between their personal beliefs and team unity.
“I think that at this point in time, there are certain people in this world who already have their opinions made up, their eyes are closed their ears are closed, so they are no longer formulating opinions,” Sherman said when asked what responses he’s gotten from the Seahawks’ skipping last weekend’s anthem. “Those people, you can’t be concerned with. Their opinions in the matters and their criticisms, etcetera, etcetera, because their criticisms are going to be bad no matter what. You could say ‘The sky is blue,’ and they’ll be upset that you said the sky is blue, because they don’t like the way you said it.
“I think for the most part though, for those that are accepting in our society, those people that are open and have open hearts and a good moral compasses I think they were received incredibly well.
“At the end of the day, you can’t make everybody happy--and we’re not trying to. We’re just trying to help people become more aware of the issues that are out there. The injustices and the inequalities that are in the world.
“And I think we did that.”