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Seahawks' Baldwin says NFL "really missed it" with policy

Thu May 24 7:29pm ET
By TIM BOOTH
AP Sports Writer

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin talks to reporters following NFL football practice, Thursday, May 24, 2018, in Renton, Wash. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)


Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson talks to reporters following NFL football practice, Thursday, May 24, 2018, in Renton, Wash. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)


Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin talks to reporters following NFL football practice, Thursday, May 24, 2018, in Renton, Wash. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)


Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin, right, talks with head coach Pete Carroll, left, following NFL football practice, Thursday, May 24, 2018, in Renton, Wash. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)


RENTON, Wash. (AP) Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin had harsh words for the comments made by President Donald Trump regarding the NFL's new national anthem policy on Thursday, as players began to process the new mandate from the league's owners.

Baldwin has been a leading voice from the players' perspective for why there were protests last season even though Baldwin never participated in kneeling or sitting on the sidelines during ''The Star-Spangled Banner.''

He spoke passionately after the Seahawks concluded their offseason workout and sounded offended by the president's comments to ''Fox & Friends'' in an interview that aired Thursday saying, ''maybe you shouldn't be in the country'' if you don't stand for the anthem.

''He's an idiot. Plain and simple,'' Baldwin said. ''I respect the man because he's a human being first and foremost, but he's just being divisive, which is not surprising. It is what it is. But for him to say anybody who doesn't follow his viewpoints or his constituents viewpoints should be kicked out of the country is not very empathetic. It's not very American like, actually, to me. It's not very patriotic. It's not what this country was founded upon. It's kind of ironic to me the President of the United States is contradicting what our country is really built on.''

Baldwin was among a handful of players that have expressed frustration and disappointment with the NFL mandating players must stand for the national anthem if they're on the field, though they now have the option of remaining in the locker room for the playing of the anthem and carry on the campaigns against social injustice.

Even normally reserved Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson agreed with the sentiment that the owners' decision was a message to players to essentially be quiet.

''Pretty much. I think that's part of it. It seems that way,'' Wilson said. ''But I think a policy right or wrong is not going to fix our problems.''

The new policy allows teams to adopt their own workplace rules, which many players interpreted as a backhanded way of subjecting them to fines, suspensions or loss of jobs should they carry on with the protests.

For Baldwin, who is among the players to have worked with the league on addressing social concerns and community programs, the anthem decision felt like a step back.

''If you're asking my opinion, I think that in conjunction with the NFL, the way that things were going, I felt on the Players Coalition side of things we were coming to an amicable agreement and relationship and working toward initiatives and causes that we wanted to see as players addressed, I thought that you would see the demonstrations and the issues within the NFL dissipate,'' Baldwin said.

''But again, when you stoke the fire and inflame a gap that was really dissipating at the time, diffusing, you cause more problems. That's why I say I think the NFL missed it.''

Others around the league didn't see the policy as a potential issue.

''I'm really not too worried about it. I would expect that everybody's gonna be out there with their hand over their heart, showing respect to the flag and to the country,'' New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees said.

But teammate Demario Davis had mixed emotions about the policy. His father served in the military, but he also understands why players have been protesting.

''I just think that when you love something - you care about it - you want to work to get it right. I love my children. When they do wrong things, I'm going to let them know they're doing wrong things. I'm not just going to sweep it under the rug because I love them,'' Davis said.

''I think that's the difference between patriotism and nationalism. Nationalism is loving your country just to love it, you know, even when it's right or wrong, you're going to take the side of your country. Patriotism is loving it enough to sacrifice for it, but also to call it (out) when it's wrong.

''The people who are speaking up for the people who are hurting have a deep love and devotion for our country. That's kind of gotten misconstrued at times. But it's important for people to understand that.''

The decision by the owners was an attempt to quell a firestorm by moving protests away from the public eye and potentially lure back disgruntled fans. But in the process they may have disgruntled their employees and rekindled what appeared to be an issue that was dying down.

''I feel like it might want to make people just want to rebel, just like when Trump said what he said last year,'' Denver linebacker Brandon Marshall said.

''People rebelled. And let's be clear. I know they say they'll fine the team, but players don't care about that. Players don't care about the teams get fined.''

Player Notes
Sam Bradford Jun 17 9:33pm ET

Arizona Cardinals QB Sam Bradford (knee) saw more reps during team drills as minicamp progressed, and he said limiting his reps has helped him prepare physically and mentally. 'I can really build on what we had done here and coming to training camp ready to go,' Bradford said. 'I feel like we've done a great job of sticking to the plan,' Bradford said. 'I think the plan has worked and my body feels really good right now.'

Brandon Marshall Jun 17 8:33pm ET

Seattle Seahawks WR Brandon Marshall (hamstring) skipped organized team activities and the minicamp, but coach Pete Carroll indicates the team is fine with this as long as Marshall keeps recovering.

Ben Roethlisberger Jun 17 8:13pm ET

Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger won't pursue an extension on his contract, which expires in two years, over the summer months. Roethlisberger said he prefers to just play football and let his representation worry about the money.

Keke Coutee Jun 17 6:13pm ET

Houston Texans WR Keke Coutee might be the team's answer in the slot, according to ESPN's Sarah Barshop, who notes the rookie has 'stood out among the young receiving corps.'

Chad Hansen Jun 17 6:03pm ET

New York Jets WR Chad Hansen is one of the most improved players on the team - looking stronger and faster than last year - and could play his way into a prominent role with a good preseason, according to ESPN's Rich Cimini.

Tom Brady Jun 17 5:33pm ET

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady acknowledged in an interview with Oprah Winfrey that aired on her network Sunday, June 17, he knows he is getting closer to retirement as he nears his 41st birthday in August, telling Winfrey he is 'seeing that there's definitely an end coming, sooner rather than later.' However, Brady also added he wants to play 'as long as I'm loving the training and preparation and willing to make the commitment.'

O.J. Howard Jun 17 4:33pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers TE O.J. Howard 'showed how versatile and explosive he can be during minicamp,' according to Rick Stroud of The Tampa Bay Times.

Zay Jones Jun 17 4:23pm ET

Buffalo Bills WR Zay Jones will have to 'earn his way' and 'not necessarily go right to the top of the line' after a mostly disappointing rookie season, according to general manager Brandon Beane.

Ronald Jones II Jun 17 2:23pm ET

Tampa bay Buccaneers RB Ronald Jones could post the biggest numbers of the team's defense-heavy draft class since he should get 15 to 20 touches per game, according to Rick Stroud of The Tampa Bay Times.

Sam Darnold Jun 17 2:03pm ET

New York Jets QB Sam Darnold 'hasn't flinched' and has 'handled everything (the team) has thrown at him' since rookie minicamp, according to offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates.

Josh Allen Jun 17 2:03pm ET

Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen has 'mesmerized fans with his big arm in practice' and, although he'll start the preseason third on the depth chart behind AJ McCarron and Nathan Peterman, he also 'has a real chance to be the Week 1 starter,' according to Ben Volin of The Boston Globe.

Michael Gallup Jun 17 1:53pm ET

Dallas Cowboys WRs Michael Gallup and Lance Lenoir as well as TE Blake Jarwin seem to be the three players who have shown the most chemistry with Dak Prescott through the end of the team's offseason workouts, according to Bryan Broaddus and David Helman of DallasCowboys.com.

Baker Mayfield Jun 17 1:53pm ET

Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield 'still has a long way to go' to unseat Tyrod Taylor as the starter, according to Ben Volin of The Boston Globe.

Mike Gesicki Jun 17 1:43pm ET

Miami Dolphins TE Mike Gesicki is a 'big man that can run and has really good hands' and had some 'really good days' toward the end of the team's offseason practices, according to head coach Adam Gase.

Jason Verrett Jun 17 12:03pm ET

Los Angeles Chargers CB Jason Verrett (knee) was a full participant in practice Wednesday, June 13.

Jun 17 9:33am ET

Updating a previous report, San Francisco 49ers LB Dekoda Watson (calf) sustained a strained calf muscle during practice last week but should be ready for the start of training camp.

Richard Sherman Jun 17 9:33am ET

San Francisco 49ers CB Richard Sherman (Achilles') is expected to resume taking part in 11-on-11 drills at the start of training camp.

DaeSean Hamilton Jun 16 11:53pm ET

Denver Broncos WR DaeSean Hamilton should 'play plenty' this season, according to Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com.

Corey Coleman Jun 16 11:23pm ET

Cleveland Browns WR Corey Coleman 'work ethic and football intelligence' continue to be questioned by the coaching staff, according to Scott Petrak of the Chronicle-Telegram.

D'Onta Foreman Jun 16 11:03pm ET

Houston Texans RB D'Onta Foreman (Achilles') is unlikely to be 100 percent by the start of training camp.