Seahawks support Colin Kaepernick's message, mull Week 1 protest

RENTON, Wash. -- Colin Kaepernick's message is picking up support in the Seattle Seahawks' locker room, with wide receiver Doug Baldwin and defensive end Cliff Avril considering a protest in Week 1 against the Miami Dolphins.

Asked if he has considered taking a knee during the national anthem, Baldwin said, "I have. I want to make sure that I get all of my ducks in a row before I do so."

Added Avril: "We're thinking about it. I am. I truly respect what Kaep is doing. I think some people are taking it out of context because they're not experiencing the same thing other people are experiencing. They can't really see it. But as a person that does see it and does see what's really going on out here, I definitely could see me doing something about it as well."

Baldwin recently posted a message on Facebook in which a member of the military told the wide receiver that he'd support him if he were to kneel for the anthem.

Baldwin and several of his teammates spent a day training with combat divers this offseason and have discussed their respect for the armed forces.

After Kaepernick's initial protest, Baldwin said he reached out to the 49ers quarterback and talked to him extensively.

"My grandfather being in the military, it hit home for me as well," Baldwin said. "It's the veterans. That's more heartening to me than anything. It's the veterans that have reached out and said that that's what they fought for. That's what they sacrificed their lives for was to give people back home under the flag, under the country, the opportunity to stand up or sit for what they believe in. So that was very heartening for me to hear that and that response from the veterans."

Avril said he doesn't see the gesture as one that disrespects the military.

"Are you really disrespecting the military from the standpoint, like let's talk about the people that go to war, how they're treated when they come back," Avril said. "Let's talk about that. That's the ultimate disrespect. But that's what this country's built off of -- freedom of speech. So why is it a big deal that [Kaepernick's] able to display how he feels? That's crazy to me. It can't be one-sided. It also depends on who's doing it."

Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane sat on the bench during the national anthem of the team's final preseason game against the Oakland Raiders and said he was showing support for Kaepernick.

Kaepernick was joined by his teammate, Eric Reid, in protest before the 49ers' final preseason game.

Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner said the players have also discussed some kind of unified protest on Sunday.

"I do support Kaep in what he's doing, the message behind it," Wagner said. "I think sometimes everybody's taking the message wrong because there's a lot of stuff that's going on, a lot of bad stuff that's going on. And that needs to be fixed. So at some point, you've got to do whatever you need to do to get that fixed.

"And I think what he's done is open up that conversation and make people talk about it. Whenever you've got the president talking about those types of things, it's definitely getting his message across .I think it's a very positive message. I think there should be justice and equality for everybody, no matter what your skin color is. And I think that's what he's fighting for because a lot of black people don't get that.

"Anything that we want to do, it's not going to be individual. It's going to be a team thing because that's what the world needs to see. The world needs to see people coming together versus being individuals."

Asked whether athletes should take into account that Sunday is 9/11, Baldwin said, "Absolutely. I think that anybody should be thinking about that. Even if it wasn't September 11th, the point of the protest is to get people to think. I think it's very ironic to me that 15 years ago, on September 11th, one of the most devastating times in U.S. history, and after that day, we were probably one of the most unified that we've ever been.

"And today, you struggle to see the unity. It's very ironic to me that this date is coming up. It's going to be a very special day, a very significant day, but at the same time I'm looking forward to the many changes and differences that we can make in this country, to make better changes in our country."

Avril said he's still trying to decide how to best get his message across.

"I'm just debating on how or what I should do," he said. "I think we should all bring awareness to it. I don't think we're being disrespectful to the military or to the flag. I think we're just trying to bring awareness to what's really going on out here. I think a lot of people are acting naive to some of the injustice that's going on out here."

Added Baldwin: "The point is to bring attention and awareness to your protest. To bring attention to what's going on. And I think that's what the issue is here is that we're missing the message in terms of what we're talking about. It's not necessarily about the messenger or about the protest itself. It's about what we're pointing to."