Not in the Seahawks’ locker room.
That was a prominent theme Monday inside an NFL workplace that remains as active and aware in society as it is in football.
Following the team’s return to practice from its bye week, Seattle’s top wide receiver described his conversation with Washington’s attorney general and Seattle police officers. Doug Baldwin also talked about the progress he and the task force he has formed are making to change police training and hopefully reduce killings of minorities.
In the opposite corner of the locker room, Seattle’s Pro Bowl defensive end described the presidential election as many of us do: “Kind of a disgrace.”
Michael Bennett talked about Donald Trump and said: “You can’t disrespect women, at all.”
Just another day in what has been a remarkable summer and fall inside the Seahawks’ locker room. And for reasons that have nothing to do with the team’s 3-1 start or Sunday’s home showdown against fellow division leaders Atlanta (4-1).
Baldwin and Bennett said teammates were discussing Sunday night’s presidential debate on Monday.
Bennett pointedly commented on the Republican nominee’s characterization during the debate of his leaked comments from 2005 in which Trump was recorded bragging about groping women to whom he is attracted as “locker-room talk.”
Bennett said he was on a plane during the debate, flying back from his week vacation by the ocean.
“I’ve just been reading up on some of the content that some people like to grab women by certain areas,” Bennett said.
“I don’t know. It’s kind of crazy all the stuff that is going on and you can have a president that doesn’t understand the people. It’s just kind of a disgrace a little bit.
“As a parent of (three) daughters I felt like, I was irate. Locker-room talk? I don’t even know if that’s locker-room talk, though. That was kind of crazy to be talking about a woman like that. Women are so important. Without a woman, none of us would be here.
“So you can’t disrespect women, at all. That stuff that’s going on, it’s terrible.”
Bennett was asked if he did not appreciate how Trump was depicting locker rooms.
“Oh, yeah,” Bennett said. “Definitely.
“I don’t think anybody goes out of their way to go out and disrespect women in that type of way or feels that because of their situation that they can disrespect women, you know, because you are a superstar you can get away with it? That’s not true. People you’ve got to treat people right and treat women with respect.”
Baldwin was asked if he and Seahawks teammates discussed the debate.
“Yeah, we did,” he said in an obvious, downcast tone.
Asked what that talk was like, Baldwin said, “a disappointing one.”
Well, in that regard, Baldwin and his teammates are not alone.
“Yeah,” he said, “I feel that.”
So what is and is not locker-room talk?
“Are you ... referring to Donald Trump?” Baldwin said. “You know, I’m not going to judge a man in that light, because everybody says dumb stuff at times. Everybody makes mistakes.
“I’m not too surprised by that, I’ll say that. Have I heard things like that in the locker room? Not THAT aggressive. Again, locker-room talk, it can be aggressive sometimes. But I don’t think I’ve heard — ever heard — anything like that.”
Asked if Trump’s description depicts locker rooms of professional sports badly, Baldwin said: “Maybe, because he’s not in the locker room. He’s not in a violent sport. So I don’t know if he really knows what locker-room talk is.
“It’s not (what Trump said), I can tell you that.”
Baldwin sounded like a man who has recently picked a huge battle and didn’t want another one.
Baldwin has followed San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s protest of recent police killings across the nation — sitting and kneeling during national anthems before games — with action.
Baldwin described his meeting last week with Seattle police officers at team headquarters. He also said he spoke by telephone with Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson about the wide receiver’s initiative to get all 50 states to review their police training and policies.
He said he and Ferguson had a “good, positive” conversation.
Baldwin is the son of a police and Homeland Security officer. He was elected to the National Honor Society while growing up in Florida, then graduated from Stanford.
One of his primary goals in the last month has been to learn more about the difference between the public’s belief that police need to be better at deescalating confrontations with citizens, and law-enforcement officers’ views of the term “deescalation.”
Baldwin called that difference “eye-opening.”
“(There are) policies that we have in place for our law enforcement that don’t necessarily protect them or put them in the best positions to be protected,” Baldwin said. “They are placed in these situations sometimes because that’s what they’re taught. That’s how they’re trained. And then it’s turned around and they get in trouble or they get prosecuted or looked at in a negative light because of the training that they’ve gone through.
“Their job is a very difficult job, obviously. They put their lives on the line every time they go out onto the street. So, I don’t understand how we’re not giving our law enforcement more tools, more training, more resources to go out there and protect themselves and protect the communities that they serve and then ultimately protecting their reputation. I just don’t understand how that’s not a national effort to do that.”
Through the task force, which Baldwin wants to remain anonymous, has he learned how wide the gulf is between where police training currently is on deescalation and where it needs to be?
“That’s hard to say because there’s so many facets of it,” Baldwin said. “It’s not only on the ground level with the police officers themselves. It’s also systematic within the legislation, and it goes all the way up to the top. So, it’s just a lot of intricacies within finding solutions, but I think the groundwork that we’re trying to develop here is a start.
“All these meetings are for us to get information. The concrete next step is putting together a plan where we can give to the attorney generals that we meet with and basically say, ‘Here, this is from the research we’ve done, the things that we have heard, listened to, what we’ve learned. We think this is a rational approach to things.’ Not to say they haven’t already done that.
“I feel like we’ve got to do something.”
WILSON ‘FINE, NORMAL’
Coach Pete Carroll said quarterback Russell Wilson returned to practice well after the team’s week-long break. Last week Wilson exclusively rehabilitated his sprained knee and ankle without having to play a game or practice.
“He looked fine today. He looked normal,” Carroll said.
Wilson sprained his right ankle Sept. 11 while getting sacked in the opening win over Miami. He sprained the medial collateral ligament in his left knee Sept. 25 during the victory over San Francisco. He’s played on, not missing a practice let alone a game.
Asked if Wilson was still getting treatment for the ankle as well as the knee, Carroll said: “He still knows that it’s there and he’s treating it, but he feels really good about it.”
Carroll was non-committal on the progress of WR/KR Tyler Lockett. Due to a sprained knee, Lockett was limited the past two games to spot work on the offense and to punt returns not kickoff returns. “He’s still got to get the work done and get out there and see if he can put together a great week,” Carroll said. … The coach said rookie RB C.J. Prosise needs more time to heal the broken bone in his hand, and that the third-round pick likely won’t play for another week or so after his cast comes off. That could be a week from happening. Now that Seattle signed C.J. Spiller and the veteran scored a touchdown Oct. 2 in his first game fulfilling Prosise’s third-down role, the Seahawks don’t feel their previous urgency to get Prosise back on the field.