SEATTLE – Doug Baldwin and Michael Bennett followed Richard Sherman’s lead from a day before, devoting the vast majority of their press conferences Thursday to a discussion of the shooting deaths of black men by police.
Baldwin capped his statement by demanding that all 50 state Attorneys General in the U.S. immediately review their policies related to the use of police force.
“This is not an indictment of our law enforcement agencies, I just want that to be clear,” Baldwin said. “We know that there’s a select few, a very minute few, who are not abiding by those laws and policies.”
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson responded on Twitter, telling Baldwin he'd be interested in talking.
Baldwin accepted later in the afternoon.
The Seahawks have been linking arms during the national anthem before guys as a sign of unity, and Baldwin said he and others have begun meeting with members of the law-enforcement community in an effort to “shut up and listen” as they work to find solutions.
Baldwin said he’s also been talking with his father, who has worked in law enforcement for 35 years.
“My father’s a police officer and he’s told me numerous times about his training, and he’s told me they go through what they call verbal judo, which is essentially them trying to deescalate the situation,” Baldwin said. “And from what I understand and from what he’s told me in his experience in Homeland Security is that that method of training is not consistent … throughout the united states. “
Bennett says the team has been working hard to build on the show of unity to make tangible progress in the community.
“I think people were so caught up in the flag that they forgot about the message of social injustice,” he said.
“They wanted to miss the point I feel like, because at the end of the day when you look in the mirror and you really see what’s going on, that’s a calling on you to help make a change. And how many people really want to make a change?”
Baldwin appeared to grow angry when a reporter asked why he “as a successful person,” felt compelled to take up the issue.
“Why wouldn’t you? You’re a human being. You watch that video of a man who had his hands raised up, and he’s walking back to the car. Now, I don’t know all the context, but I know that that man has a family and I can’t help but put myself in that situation.”
Bennett said much the same.
“At the end of the day, I’m a black man in America and that outweighs every play I ever make on the football field,” he said. “No matter how many sacks I make, if I walk into the wrong place, they’re going to recognize me as a black man.
“Unless I’m in Seattle, then maybe they recognize the beard.”