Doug Baldwin is both one of the NFL’s most thoughtful players and one of the league’s players least afraid to speak his mind. So it’s no surprise he has weighed in on the decision by Colin Kaepernick’s decision to sit (and then kneel) during the national anthem to protest racial injustice.
In a Facebook post Monday night, Baldwin said the he was considering joining Kaepernick, as well as Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane, in protest and shared a text from a Special Forces veteran.
Here’s the full text of Baldwin’s Facebook post:
I have the honor of knowing some amazing people that serve and have served our country in the military. One of them, a friend that served in the Special Forces, responded to my text asking him what he thought about me kneeling during the national anthem. I thought it was appropriate to share what he had to say:
“I’d respect your passion and desire to make a statement about an incredibly important issue that we have to talk about as a nation.
I also feel like, as a white man, it’s impossible for me to say I understand what it is to experience real and widespread racism. I can’t relate to the depth and significance of those wounds. It’s not a story I’ve lived, and I’m not going to pretend I have any personal authority on the issue.
What I will say is I know racism is real. And I know it shouldn’t be. And I know that the only way I can help us get to where racism loses its power in our Nation is for me to listen, respect, and love my friends who have experienced it in their lives.
And if taking a knee during our anthem is how you share your pain with me … Then I will stand behind you while you do and lay any man down who tries to stop you.
I saw a kid take a knee during the anthem, and he put his hand on his heart too. It was powerful for me to see him do that.
Our Nation has to take this issue on. It stands between us and our becoming the Tribe we need to be, and the world needs us to be.
When Kaepernick first sat during “The Star Spangled Banner,” a large chunk of the American population declared the protest offensive to the military, because of a perceived connection between the flag, the national anthem and the troops. Perspectives like those from Baldwin’s friend and the thousands of veterans who participated in the #VetsForKaepernick Twitter hashtag help dispel the notion that protesting the national anthem is inherently anti-military.
Certainly, if Baldwin does choose to kneel during the national anthem during the Seahawks’ regular-season opener, no one can accuse him of disregarding the opinion of America’s veterans. Not after he specifically asked a veteran to weigh in on his decision.
Baldwin seems to understand that conversation about the military in the wake of Kaepernick’s protest is a distraction from the issues of racial justice that the 49ers quarterback initially hoped to raise awareness of.
What is the ‘why’ for ones actions? Not what you think their why is. Not way your why would be. What is the ‘why’ of the person protesting?!
— Doug Baldwin Jr (@DougBaldwinJr) September 2, 2016