On the surface, Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll’s words about Colin Kaepernick were complimentary and important.
Carroll talked about how much Kaepernick did during his peaceful protest over social inequality. He said "we owe a tremendous amount" to Kaepernick.
But apparently part of owing Kaepernick a tremendous amount didn’t include Carroll’s Seahawks giving Kaepernick a job — one he deserved in the NFL — when they had a chance.
Carroll’s words are a lot more empty when you consider how he and the Seahawks shunned Kaepernick, and due to those same actions Carroll praised this week, when he would have been a great fit for their football team.
Pete Carroll praises Colin Kaepernick
Carroll made a long, seemingly passionate comment about Kaepernick on The Ringer's "Flying Coach" podcast.
"I think that there was a moment in time that a young man captured. He took a stand on something, figuratively took a knee, but he stood up for something he believed in — and what an extraordinary moment it was that he was willing to take," Carroll said, via Nick Friedell of ESPN.com. "... But what happened from the process is it elevated awareness from people that just took everything away from what the statement was all about, and it just got tugged and pulled and ripped apart.
"And the whole mission of what the statement was, such a beautiful ... it's still the statement that we're making right today. We're not protecting our people. We're not looking after one another. We're not making the right choices. We're not following the right process to bring people to justice when actions are taken. So I think it was a big sacrifice in the sense that a young man makes, but those are the courageous moments that some guys take.
"And we owe a tremendous amount to him for sure."
Great, right? Well, in 2017 the Seahawks could have been the team to sign Kaepernick. They brought him in for a visit. They called him again in 2018. Maybe that would have avoided the NFL’s collusion fight against Kaepernick. But they passed and signed someone who had nowhere near the resume of Kaepernick.
It’s hard to take Carroll seriously after remembering that history.
Seahawks helped keep Kaepernick out of NFL
In 2017, the Seahawks had Kaepernick in for a visit. Knowing the amount of publicity that would come along with that, it’s not just a “kick the tires” visit. Seattle had interest. But it didn’t sign him. The Seahawks signed Austin Davis, who has 13 career touchdowns, 12 interceptions and hasn’t played in the NFL since some meaningless snaps for Seattle in 2017. It’s impossible to argue he was better than Kaepernick or even a better fit in the offense behind starter Russell Wilson. Something changed the Seahawks’ mind between Kaepernick’s visit and signing Davis, and perhaps we’ll never know the full story. Carroll used the excuse that Kaepernick “is a starter in this league, you know. And we have a starter,” which makes no sense because teams are theoretically better with starting-caliber players — not Austin Davis — backing up their clear starter.
Then in 2018, ESPN reported the Seahawks contacted Kaepernick about another visit, but that was called off when Kaepernick would not promise the team he wouldn’t kneel during the anthem.
So when Carroll says Kaepernick’s demonstration was “beautiful” and a “big sacrifice” and “courageous moments,” remember that in 2018 the Seahawks called off a free-agent visit when Kaepernick wouldn’t promise to not kneel again. Beautiful, just not on the Seahawks’ field apparently.
There will be a lot of statements made by athletes and coaches as protests continue over the fight for social justice following the death of George Floyd. Just remember that some of them aren’t backed up by actions and in some cases, completely contradict what they’ve done.
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