Seahawks Pro Bowl defensive end Michael Bennett, left, has been doing this since the first game of the preseason last month: sitting during the singing of the national anthem. Center Justin Britt, right, has been standing next to him to show support for Bennett’s statement against the treatment of minorities in this country. Elaine Thompson AP
Seahawks Pro Bowl defensive end Michael Bennett, left, has been doing this since the first game of the preseason last month: sitting during the singing of the national anthem. Center Justin Britt, right, has been standing next to him to show support for Bennett’s statement against the treatment of minorities in this country. Elaine Thompson AP

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“Is this what we’ve come to? The ‘leader’ of this country (trying) to divide us”: Seahawks react to President Trump

September 23, 2017 06:48 PM

UPDATED September 27, 2017 07:43 AM

NASHVILLE, Tenn. Oh, yes, the Seahawks heard what President Donald Trump said the NFL should do with players who do not stand for the national anthem.

President Trump told a rally in Alabama that NFL owners should “fire” any player who does not stand for the anthem before games to protest social causes.

"Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he's fired. He's fired.’?" Trump said Friday night. "You know, some owner is going to do that. He's going to say, 'That guy that disrespects our flag, he's fired.' And that owner, they don't know it [but] they'll be the most popular person in this country."

Seahawks Pro Bowl defensive end Michael Bennett has been sitting during the anthem for six weeks.

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“My mom is a beautiful lady she has never been a bitch,” Bennett posted on his Twitter feed Saturday.

All day, Seattle’s players used the internet and social media to react from their team hotel where they are staying here for Sunday’s game against Tennessee.

“Wow! Is this what we've come to? The ‘leader’ of this country continues to try to divide us and now wants to divide one of the few thing that any and everyone can come together and enjoy no matter ethnic group you are. #WORRIEDABOUTALLTHEWRONGTHINGS” Pro Bowl defensive end Cliff Avril posted on his Twitter account Saturday.

Richard Sherman​ wants to address how the President is dividing the country. pic.twitter.com/lWQhR0ARpZ

— The Players' Tribune (@PlayersTribune) September 24, 2017

“We should be more focused on uniting our country and showing one another how similar we are, and how amazing it is to live in this great country,” three-time All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman said in video he produced from his Nashville hotel room and posted on The Players’ Tribune. “I think the comments from the President of the United States have been very divisive, for a very long time.

“And I think it was very interesting that he condemned the protests--the silent protests of our players--who are protesting the injustice and bigotry and racism that has plagued our great country for so long, and our trying to make a difference, to make our country even better and even greater, are seen as radicals to him. That’s incredible seeing as he saw the white supremacist and it took him a while to even condemn him.”

Top wide receiver Doug Baldwin issued a statement disseminated by ESPN’s Josina Anderson.

#Seahawks WR @DougBaldwinJr official statement to me on Donald Trump's remarks on national anthem protests in the @NFL. pic.twitter.com/pPA6ZR6UcB

— Josina Anderson (@JosinaAnderson) September 23, 2017

The NFL issued a statement from commissioner Roger Goodell Saturday in response to Trump’s comments, thought the commissioner noticeably didn’t refer to the president by name.

“The NFL and our players are at our best when we help create a sense of unity in our country and our culture.” Goodell’s statement said. “There is no better example than the amazing response from our clubs and players to the terrible natural disasters we've experienced over the last month. Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players, and a failure to understand the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities.”

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll reiterated his support for his players.

“In this incredibly polarizing time, there’s no longer a place to sit silently. It’s time to take a stand,” Carroll posted on his Twitter account. “We stand for love and justice and civility. We stand for our players and their constitutional rights, just as we stand for equality of all people.

“We stand against divisiveness and hate and dehumanization...

“As a team, we are united in a mission to bring people together to help create positive change. We can no longer remain silent.

“I will stand with our players.”

Seahawks owner Paul Allen is not believed to be in Nashville for Sunday’s game; at least he wasn’t in town on Saturday. But the team issued a statement Saturday night from its president, Peter McLoughlin.

“We fully support our players’ use of their freedom of speech and peaceful action to highlight the existing racial and other divides in our country,” McLoughlin’s statement said. “Our players completely respect the military and veterans of our country; however, they believe these issues need to come to the forefront.”

Expect some kind of visible reaction and perhaps more players joining Bennett in his statement during the anthem that will be played before Sunday’s Seahawks game against the Titans at 1:05 p.m. at Nissan Stadium here. By then, the NFL will have played 10 games Sunday, so the Seahawks can see how other players around the league reacted in practice to Trump’s comments.