The Seattle Seahawks will take a cue from San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick at the team's season opener against the Miami Dolphins today, when players are expected to engage in a "demonstration of unity" during the playing of the national anthem.
Detroit Lions players are also expected to engage in a similar demonstration during the team's season opener in Indianapolis against the Colts.
Opponents have slammed such protests as disrespectful towards veterans, the U.S. flag, and the country, in general. And given it's the 15th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, today's "demonstration of unity" has definitely struck a chord with critics.
Case in point: On Friday morning, #boycottNFL began trending on Twitter in response to the growing number of critics.
"To express a desire to bring people together, our team will honor the country and flag in a pregame demonstration of unity," explained Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin last Thursday on his Twitter account.
Although Kaepernick and other players across the NFL have either chose to sit or kneel -- in an attempt to raise awareness about racial inequality -- Seahawks players will "stand and interlock arms in unity," Baldwin said in a video posted to his social media accounts.
"We are a team comprised of individuals with diverse backgrounds," Baldwin said. "And as a team, we have chosen to stand and interlock arms in unity. We honor those who have fought for the freedom we cherish. And we stand to ensure the riches of freedom and the security of justice for all people. Progress can and will be made only if we stand together."
Martin Luther King Jr. once famously said "Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."#BuildABridge pic.twitter.com/n1qP5c2RGM
- Doug Baldwin Jr (@DougBaldwinJr) September 10, 2016And the players' demonstration has the blessing of Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, who tweeted last week, "It's about joining hands and coming together...It's all about #love..." And on Saturday, Carroll tweeted, "So proud of our guys."
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's take has been a bit more lukewarm, though, saying, "Players have a platform, and it's his right to do that. We encourage them to be respectful and it's important for them to do that."
But Baldwin's teammates have expressed their support and are eager to express themselves on the field.
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson posted a black-and-white photo of his teammates, captioning it, "CHANGE can Only happen TOGETHER. Unity. Love. Forgiveness. Change. We are linking arms & standing to Stand Up for Social Justice, Love, & Peace for All."
Kam Chancellor, strong safety for the Seahawks, tweeted, "Be the example you want to see in others" #Unity #Seahawks #Brotherhood."
Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett tweeted teammate Baldwin's video, writing, "You see what we are doing....what are you doing to make a change? Find someone to build a bridge."