NFL

Pete Carroll Warns NFL Games Could Be in Jeopardy in ‘Season of Protesting’

Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll has developed a reputation in the NFL as being a players’ coach. In a 2020 poll of Pro Bowl players, Pete Carroll tied with Andy Reid as the coach with whom most players wanted to play. As part of that appealing culture he’s constructed in Seattle, Carroll has always been one to stand by his players. In 2020, Carroll admits that could mean supporting his players who refuse to play games in protest of racial injustice. 

Pete Carroll’s missed opportunity

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While Pete Carroll has had tremendous success in Seattle since his arrival in 2010, including a Super Bowl win in 2014, there have been a few bumps in the road along the way. Carroll admitted earlier this year one of those was he regretted that he failed to sign Colin Kaepernick back in 2017 when he had the chance. 

At the time, Carroll said he didn’t sign Kaepernick because he believed he was a starting quarterback and would be signed by another team. 

“I regret that we weren’t the one way back when that just did it just to do it, even though I thought that it wasn’t the right fit necessarily for us at the time,” Carroll said in a teleconference with reporters. “The reason it wasn’t the right fit is because I held him in such a high regard I didn’t see him as a backup quarterback and I didn’t want to put him in that situation with Russ.”

Athletes protest in multiple sports

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Since the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in late May, demonstrators have marched in the streets of America’s cities, protesting racial injustice and police brutality against the Black community. Many professional athletes have been among the marchers, while others have taken to social media to join the national conversation on the ever-evolving situation.

Since the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin earlier this week, professional athletes across multiple sports have taken their protests to another level. The Detroit Lions were the first NFL team to cancel practice in protest of the Blake shooting. Hours later, the Milwaukee Bucks boycotted Game 5 of their first-round playoff series with the Orlando Magic. The NBA subsequently postponed all games for the day.

The next domino to fall was the WNBA, and then multiple teams in MLB and MLS also called off their games in a display of solidarity. 

Carroll admits protests could affect NFL season  

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On Wednesday in Seattle, Pete Carroll’s Seahawks had a protest of their own. During a mock game, some players sat while the national anthem was played before the game. Following the game, Carroll was asked about the Blake shooting in a press conference.

“This whole thing is ridiculous, and anybody that doesn’t recognize that just isn’t paying attention,” Carroll said. 

When asked if it’s possible an NFL team, including the Seahawks, might not take the field this season, Carroll offered an honest assessment of the situation.

“Anything’s possible. I mentioned to the players this is the year — the protest season. It’s the season of protesting. And we’ll handle ourselves as we do. This is a protest that doesn’t have an end to it until all the problems go away. And we solve the issues and stuff. 

“So we’re gonna do our part and continue to work to stay actively involved, and continue to stay in touch with the situations that are going on by staying on the topics and with it, just in hopes that we can be there to help and support where we can and have influence where we can. The whole Black Lives Matter thing couldn’t be more obvious how true this whole movement is and how much focus and change needs to come. Hope we can do something to help.”

Pete Carroll missed an opportunity to make a statement with Colin Kaepernick in 2017. It’s clear in 2020 he doesn’t plan on making the same mistake and is supportive of his players in whatever they do. And that’s precisely why NFL players view Seattle as such an inviting destination to play.