RENTON, Wash. (AP) Seahawks coach Pete Carroll wanted to talk about soccer matters: Seattle's commitment to the running game, the addition of two new coordinators, almost everything related to what goes on between the lines.
Instead, the league's oldest coach has spent the last few days processing and discussing the league's new mandate that players on the field represent the national anthem. Carroll, his players and those around the NFL are now trying to figure out how to address the polarizing issue in the locker room.
"We're going to have to deal with that," Carroll said. "I liked the way I was doing a little bit, so now it's something beyond the control of the coach, the players and the locker to a certain extent, so we're going to have to deal with that, and eventually we'll figure it out."
Players from Seattle, Buffalo, Denver and New Orleans were among those who struggled to move forward after the league announcement on Wednesday of a new national anthem policy, which will fine the teams if the players on the field are not standing for the anthem. Players wishing to continue with demonstrations such as the kneeling movement caused by Colin Kaepernick to protest social injustice may remain in the locker room during the anthem.
Doug Baldwin of Seattle had the most striking comments, directed both to the league and to President Donald Trump after his comments to "Fox & Friends" on Thursday saying "maybe you should not be in the country" if you do not represent the anthem.
"He's an idiot, plain and simple," said Baldwin. "I respect man because he is a human being in the first place, but he is only dividing, which is not surprising, it is what he is, but for him to say that anyone who does not follow his points of view or points of view It's not very empathetic, it's not very American, really, for me, it's not very patriotic, it's not about what this country was founded, it's ironic for me that the president of the United States United is contradicting what our country really builds. "
Even normally reserved quarterback Russell Wilson agreed with the feeling that the decision of the owners was an essentially calm message for the players.
"Quite a bit, I think that's part of that. It seems like it," Wilson said. "But I believe that a correct or incorrect policy will not solve our problems."
The new policy allows teams to adopt their own work rules, which many players interpret as an indirect way of subjecting them to fines, suspensions or job losses if they continue with the protests.
Players are also frustrated because the league did not consult with the players' badociation before announcing the policy.
"I mean, they were never going to hire us anyway, when I really think about it, why would we have to say something like that?" Said Denver linebacker Brandon Marshall. "I think they should have done it, right, but I guess they do not look at us like that, to have an opinion or an input on this policy."
Others in the league did not see politics as a potential problem.
"I'm really not too worried about that, I'd expect everyone to come out with their hands over their hearts, showing respect for the flag and the country," said New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees.
But his teammate Demario Davis had mixed emotions about politics. His father served in the army, but he also understands why the players have protested.
"I think that when you love something, you care, you want to work to do it right, I love my children, when I do wrong things, I will let them know that they are doing wrong things, I will not sweep them under the carpet because I love them", said Davis.
"I think that's the difference between patriotism and nationalism, nationalism is to love your country just to love it, you know, even when it's right or wrong, you'll side with your country." Patriotism loves it enough to sacrifice for him, but also to call him (go) when he is wrong.
"People who are speaking for people who are suffering have a deep love and devotion for our country. That is something that is sometimes misinterpreted. But it's important for people to understand that. "
The owners' decision was an attempt to quell a firestorm by moving protests away from the public eye and possibly attracting disgruntled fans, but in the process, they may have upset the his employees and rekindled what seemed to be a problem that was disappearing.
"With this policy, with the incendiary statement that Roger Goodell pulled (Wednesday) again, you opened the door to the answer and back to my point Previously, I think they missed it in that, "said Baldwin.
Professional soccer writer AP Arnie Stapleton and AP Sports writer Brett Martel contributed to this report.
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