BY Art Thiel 06:20PM 08/26/2020

Thiel: All Seattle sports teams share the outrage

Consequences from another shooting of an unarmed Black man ripped across sports Wednesday. Some Seahawks sat for the anthem, and the Mariners wouldn’t play.

The Mariners, whose game in San Diego Wednesday was potponed, have more Black players on their roster than any MLB team. / Illustration from Justin Dunn’s Twitter account

The Seahawks staged a mock game Wednesday at the otherwise-empty Clink, which was football-useful but utterly irrelevant culturally. Another unarmed Black man in America had been gunned down by police, this time in Kenosha, WI. The Seahawks joined others in the sports world furious about another atrocity — Jacob Blake, 29, was shot seven times in the back, in front of his three children.

Coach Pete Carroll was among the outraged.

“This is just ridiculous,” he said at his post-game presser. “I can’t even imagine that this continues to happen. I don’t know how (police) could ever do that on the circumstances and the awareness that everybody should have right now. But it continues to happen.

“The whole Black Lives Matter thing couldn’t be more obvious how true this was, and how much focus and change needs to come. I just hope we can do something to help.”

To that end, Carroll reached out to former presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) Tuesday night to meet virtually via Zoom for 40 minutes with his players to offer some direction.

Calling it “a big evening” and part of what he termed “a season of protest,” Carroll said Booker, a former Stanford football player whom he met this year during a visit to Seattle, encouraged players to use their social media platforms to speak out.

“He emphasized to us that everybody has a voice now,” Carroll said. “The guys can have an effect on the people that follow them, that watch them. They have (followers) that care what they think about. He urged us to really think about what we want to say to those people, and know that we do have the power to have an effect.”

The power began to be used across sports Wednesday, especially after a 17-year-old white supremacist with an AR-15 was charged with killing two people at a protest in Kenosha following the shooting of Blake, who remains alive but is paralyzed from the waist down.

When a recording of the national anthem was played Wednesday, more than a dozen Seahawks sat on the team bench along the west sideline, including veterans LT Duane Brown and DE Bruce Irvin. Rookie LB Jordyn Brooks appeared to have his hands together praying.

Newcomer SS Jamal Adams —  who sat out Wednesday after taking stitches to fix a finger injured cutting strawberries at home — had his mind wrapped in fear and fury:

Nationally, the NBA postponed three scheduled playoff games Wednesday in its Florida bubble after the Milwaukee Bucks, whose arena is about 40 miles from Kenosha, refused to come out to play Orlando.

The strike sentiment spread quickly among other teams, particularly after Clippers coach Doc Rivers delivered a poignant, emotional response to the shooting following his team’s 154-111 win over Dallas Tuesday.

The WNBA, playing its 22-game season entirely in a bubble in Bradenton, FL., followed suit by postponing its three games scheduled Wednesday night. The league earlier announced it was playing its season dedicated to social justice.

In San Diego, the Mariners voted unanimously to not play the Padres in their scheduled game Wednesday night. They followed the lead of the Milwaukee Brewers, who walked away from their game with the Cincinnati Reds.

Mariners INF/OF Dee Gordon tweeted that racial injustice is bigger than a ballgame.

MLS announced around 6 p.m. that five of the six scheduled games Wednesday were postponed, including a Sounders match against the Galaxy in Los Angeles. Reportedly under discussion by the players is a league-wide strike through the weekend, which would mean postponing the Sounders’ “re-opener” at home Sunday at the Clink against LAFC.

Back at the Clink, CB Shaquill Griffin was the only player made available to the media after the mock game. He described the still-developing group message — the Seahawks don’t have a real game until Sept. 13 — as keeping the public aware.

“It’s a lot that’s going on between (NFL and NBA players) and the main thing is just keeping awareness,” he said. “It’s tough, because you try to figure out ways to kind of help, but still do your job.

“It’s a tough subject for everybody. We’re still trying to figure it out because you have everything happening. We got to keep that same awareness for each other so no one ever forgets.”

Carroll is hoping the Seahawks can come to unanimity on an expression of contempt. Regarding a potential strike at a Seahawks game, he said, “Anything is possible . . .

“We want to do something together, what happens at the anthem, that kind of stuff. That’s why to me it’s a seasonal protest. One thing we’re not, is we’re not numbed to it. We’re in tune and the guys are feeling it. It’s topical and we know that we have to do something that’s on the right side of this whole issue.

“You worry that you can’t do enough. You worry that you can’t be effective enough to create the change that we need.”

That is a universal worry in America.

The Blake shooting after the police murder of George Flyod in Minneapolis is unconscionable, and the pending wildcat sports strike — it’s not a protest, it’s not a boycott, it’s a strike — will hit America where it plays.

Whether it is enough is unknowable. Whether it is necessary is unquestionable.

After all that it has taken for sports to get this far while enveloped by the coronavirus introduced last year, sports and America must continue a more profound fight against a toxin introduced 400 years ago.


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YourThoughts

  • jafabian

    I’d like to see the country lock down as a whole for a period of time as a show of solidarity. Send a message to those who are in position to act. Schools, post offices, restaurants and others. It’s maddening that despite everything that has happened with the Black Lives Movement and the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others incidents like this still happens. Of course, those who are in a position to act make idiotic decisions that result in people like Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best to resign from their post. America has become more and more divided the past few years with no end in sight. There’s a silent Civil War that is slowly brewing in America and it’s people must learn to put those differences aside in order to prevent it from happening. Dr. King once said “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” Food for thought.

    • Husky73

      It’s not only the racism, or the police, or Portland, or Minneapolis, or the CHOP zone…it’s Bloods, Crips, MS-13 and hundreds of other gangs. it’s the drug cartels, it’s the tsunami of drug abuse…..In the last four weekends in Chicago (just ONE American city) the body count has been 64 shot and 4 dead, 33 shot and 9 dead, 40 shot and 4 dead and 57 shot and 7 dead. A good portion of this country has lost its collective mind. And, we have an imbecile in the White House.

      • jafabian

        But what’s happening isn’t a violence issue. It’s systemic racism. That’s why athletes walked off their jobs and it’s why Kap kneeled. The numbers for arrests in regards to Blacks, Latinos and white has always favored the white population. Just look at hirings for coaches or ownership in sports. That’s a huge statement of American society right there. Change MUST happen but it’s always been stymied in one way or another. The RNC was quick to condemn any potential violence in Kenosha but barely acknowledged what happened to Jacob Blake. I’m looking forward to hearing what Lebron has to say about Jared Kushner’s comments about pro athletes leading a privileged lifestyle and that they should just play sports.

        • Husky73

          I agree with you, I do. Protests turn into riots because arrests turn into murders…….But, crime is crime and murder is murder (including murder by cop), no matter the race or the circumstances.

          • art thiel

            Power concedes nothing without a demand. — Frederick Douglass

          • jafabian

            Blake was unarmed and shot multiple times in the back by 2 white officers. Meanwhile 15 miles away a white 17 year old suspected of killing 2 people at a protest rally is taken into custody without incident. Would that have been the same result with a Black person? And then at the RNC the couple who supposedly were defending their home from protesters and made headlines for pointing guns at them qualify to speak at this national, televised gathering in front of some of our nations leaders…simply because they pointed guns at Black people. Remember this in November.

          • Husky73

            For accuracy’s sake, Blake had a knife on the floor board of his vehicle and a history of violence. It does not excuse seven shots in the back, inches from his children.

          • BB46

            If you think about it. Because the officer waited that long there weren’t any background people who could have been innocents hit. He did shoot away from the kids too. More forward and down. I wonder if that was by design or just worked out that way.

        • art thiel

          Kushner was born to wealth from a ruthless father who served time for real estate fraud. Junior has no standing to call out players of made wealth.

      • art thiel

        People haven’t lost their minds any more now than in previous crises, going back to the Boston Tea Party. The biggest difference is the technology to connect among the disenfranchised to make them larger and more effective (Fox News), and income disparity.

        • Husky73

          I disagree. This November, somewhere around 70 million Americans will vote for Trump. If that is not mass insanity, I do not know what is. It is not tossing chests of tea into a harbor to protest a tax. If, at this point, a person votes for Trump, I do not judge their choice of party. I would gladly vote for Romney or even Quayle today. But, I do judge their common sense, ethics, morals and humanity. So will history.

          • art thiel

            As you may know, I won’t be voting for Trump either. But I encourage all of us to look beyond his betrayals of law, conscience and truth to the greater threat — he is a symptom, not a cause.

          • Bruce McDermott

            He is both.

          • art thiel

            I get your point, but as his own sister has pointed out recently, he has no principles. He jumped on the conservative side as the shortest route to self-aggrandizement. The even bigger threat is from the true believers like Tom Cotton.

          • Husky73

            Exactly. Trump was a life long supporter of Democrats (including the Clintons, Biden and Harris) but his path to power was faster and easier positioned from the right. Trump’s dream is to do away with the Constitution, the Congress and the courts. His quest is to be Il Duce.

          • Husky73

            He is a root cause, and he has emboldened the haters who feel safe to come completely out from under their rocks (and sheets). Trump’s campaign slogan should be “We Hate Everyone.”

          • Seattle Psycho

            His reign has destroyed the GOP. They now have people who are Q’ANON enthusiasts winning primaries across the country. Trump was the igniter of the line of gunpowder leading to the shed full of gunpowder and fireworks like we used to see in Looney Tunes. I don’t know what another 4 years of trump would do to the country but I know it won’t be good. It’s time for cooler heads to prevail and a 3rd party to form consisting of Center Right and Center Left coming together with the understanding both sides have good and bad ideas but the ideas of the furthest left and right are even worse.

          • Kirkland

            A third party won’t help in a presidential election, no thanks to the Electoral College (see: Perot, H. Ross). A third party *would* make an impact in Congress and state legislatures. If they took about ten percent of seats in the various bodies, which is typical in parliamentary democracies, they would play a significant part in deciding which bills got passed. I’d recommend third parties concentrate on local and legislative races, whether your centrist focus or less central like libertarian, social democrat, or Green.

    • art thiel

      As I may have written before, much of this is to do with the huge disparity in incomes, and the subsequent disenfranchisement of poor and middle class people who feel left out. People of color and rural whites are most impacted, and see each other as part of the reasons.

  • woofer

    “The Blake shooting after the police murder of George Fant in Minneapolis is unconscionable…”

    Hold it. Time to get your stories straight. Next you’ll be telling us that Dunbar was to blame.

    • Husky73

      I have no idea what you are trying to say.

      • jafabian

        Typo. It’s George Floyd not George Fant.

        • art thiel

          Fixed. Thanks.

          • BD

            This is, perhaps, a pretty jerky thing to point out, but since the premise of my posts on this topic was that human beings are fallible and we all make mistakes, even professionals…

            You wrote an article on protests with a lot of opinions that didn’t seem to include a lot of facts and got the name of one of the main people in the story wrong, calling George Floyd, “George Fant”. As I understand things, in journalism world, that’s a pretty big mistake. You have since gone into this article and “fixed” it by changing his name from “George Fant” to “George Flyod”, compounding your mistake with another mistake. Which me and most decent human beings will give you a free pass on because mistakes and typos are simply part of the human condition and even professional journalists that have been writing for 40 years can make a mistake.

            But guess what, Art? Police officers in this country do not seem to get that grace when they make a mistake. When they make a mistake, they can instantly be called a racist, are fired, and get prosecuted and tossed in prison. And if none of these things are done instantly by knee jerk reacting politicians who haven’t even had time to understand the facts, journalists like you and protesters lose their minds and start screaming racism and demanding blood, also without knowing or understanding the facts. It’s simply a mob that grabs pitch forks and torches.

            Or the police officer makes a mistake and gets shot and killed or stabbed or beaten to death. Art, if you make a mistake, you can simply go into your article and fix it. Cops get no “do overs”.

            So Art, are you a racist because you got George Floyd’s name wrong, not once, but twice? You’re white. And some could make the argument that you are just another white person that doesn’t even care enough to make sure you got George Floyd’s name correct.

          • mtblaze

            Police have been getting “that grace” for decades, if not centuries.

    • Tim

      Batshit crazy. You make no sense.

  • SeattleSince57

    NBA.. Shut it down, in protest. I get it.
    You are not in frame of mind to continue, make your stand,

    • art thiel

      Sincere, or not?

      • SeattleSince57

        Thanks for asking,
        Entitled, in-the-media types should devote full time to their beloved causes,
        I will not be subject to their sermons,
        I will find other entertainment.

        • Husky73

          There’s a clown show in the White House every day. You can tune in for free.

        • art thiel

          There’s no separating sports and politics/causes now, if there ever was. And good luck with finding other entertainment that keeps you unsoiled of today’s reality.

          Perhaps you can lift your mask over your eyes. You’re wearing one, right?

        • Kirkland

          The only entertainment today that’s not activist? The Free Cell and Minesweeper games on one’s computer.

  • SeattleSince57

    MLB.. Mariners, What to do?, you be out distanced by the NBA in your stand.

    Shut down a game or two, . make you look weak, in protest…
    Shut down the season to get your message heard

    • jafabian

      Considering that the White House has pushed hard for all the money making sports leagues to get going again if all did shut down for the rest of the year would force POTUS to address the situation. Though he’d probably just insult them and slowly try to tax them to death.

      • art thiel

        He can be forced to address nothing. He is conscience-free.

    • art thiel

      A number of players agree with that. I think they will be out-voted.

      I also think that some players know privately they aren’t cut out for being community firebrands for change. Being good at sports doesn’t necessarily qualify one for the political/social spotlight.

  • Quackhead

    Teenagers walking the streets with assault rifles.
    What could possibly go wrong??

    • Husky73

      And Tucker Carlson defends him

      • art thiel

        I wish he were alone. But he leads the parade.

    • art thiel

      I think you’ll discover online where the kid inherited his worldview.

  • Tim

    Thank you for this inspired piece, Art. To the athletes with the courage to match your convictions: Strike on. I stand in solidarity and know you’ll have more support than you will have ever imagined. This revolution won’t be denied and your actions are a watershed moment in history. We can do sports at a later time.

    • art thiel

      Thanks, Tim. I’m eager to see if it’s a watershed or a ripple.

  • DB

    Were is the outrage for the for the 2 young black men who were murdered at CHOP? Or the continuing carnage of hundreds of young black men in Chicago? Or the murder of the retired black police officer during the riots? Can you tell us any of their names without looking them up? Why is there no media coverage or questions of sports personalities around the loss of these black lives? Are we really only outraged and concerned about black lives that are lost in police incidents involving white officers? The hypocrisy is obvious.

    • art thiel

      Loss of life by homicide is equally tragic, but what’s at issue here is systemic abuse of power by official authority that disproportionately kills unarmed black people. Can’t believe you don’t get that.

      • BD

        What’s also at issue is perspective and who is presenting the facts. What seems to be particular to this time and place is the total disagreement on what the facts are.

      • DB

        The number of Black Americans who lose their lives in homicides is roughly 10 times the number who die in Police actions. The disparity between Blacks and Whites is pretty much the same in both cases. Clearly, homicides represent a bigger problem by sheer numbers. Why is there such a disparity in each situation? Many proclaim that the disparity of deaths of Black Americans in the hands of Law Enforcement is because the Police are racist. This opinion is commonly stated as fact. Obviously, this claim can’t be made about the disparity in homicides, and I suggest that this is why there is no outrage or media frenzy over that issue. The assertion that the Cops are racist is central to a political agenda that, among other things, primarily seeks to de-fund the Police. In the once great cities of Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Minneapolis, and New York, the efforts to implement policies to de-fund or otherwise kneecap the Police has resulted in a spike in murder rates. Guess who is getting killed? And again, in disproportional rates? But, no outrage, no media coverage. And, of course, no one is paying any attention to the injuries or deaths of Police Officers resulting from all this. Net, more people are dying as a result of the media-driven political campaign against the Police, than less. None of this excuses the Police from abuse of power, when that occurs, but the degree of media focus on that, and corresponding lack of coverage on the other equally important issues is hypocritical. Simple logic tells us that: if we have bad cops, we need good cops. –Not no cops. If we are truly interested in improving policing we might want to start with the Police Unions.

        • BD

          Just want to clarify something…DB and BD are two different people.

          Carry on…

          • art thiel

            Good point. When in doubt, there’s always the option to drop anonymity.

          • BD

            I’ll tell ya what…when I become a professional journalist and get paid for what I write, I’ll drop my anonymity. But in this world of cancel culture when folks can get destroyed for what is considered a thoughtcrime by the thoughtpolice, I’ll stick with being anonymous.

          • BB46

            Which one is Backwards?

  • BD

    Why was Earl Thomas just cut by the Ravens? One of the reasons, it seems, is because he kept making mistakes, which upset his teammates. Keep in mind that Thomas is a Super Bowl winning Safety that might be in the NFL Hall of Fame someday who has done nothing but eat, sleep and train as a football player since he was a little boy. And he was apparently making mistakes in games and practice, which upset his teammates so much that it came to physical blows and Thomas was sent home and then cut. My point? Human beings are fallible. We all make mistakes. Even Hall of Famers.

    The Google says there are 800,000 police officers in America and these police officers respond to approximately 240 million 911 calls for service every year. The math says that’s 657,534 911 calls for service a day in America. Keep in mind that compared to the football training Earl Thomas gets, these police officers don’t even come close. Yet they are expected to never make a mistake, ever, in moments that require decisions to be made in less than a split second, with potential death for themselves or others if they don’t react quickly or correctly enough, with a massive amount of “fight or flight” driven adrenaline coursing through their bodies. All with minimal training, compared to an NFL football player.

    Just like Earl Thomas, police officers are human beings. And human beings are fallible. I believe that’s called “the human condition”. So instead of asking, “How does this keep happening?” (I asked it myself) maybe we should all be amazed due to the volume of calls that police respond to every single day, that it doesn’t happen more often.

    • art thiel

      No rational person disagrees that human frailty is part of the police killings story. But in a wealthy country, poor training is not an acceptable excuse for the many unjustifiable police homicides, nor does it explain the many documented instances of racism/white nationalism in departments around the country.

      https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/aug/21/police-white-nationalists-racist-violence

      • BD

        Is it an excuse or a possible explanation? As well as an expression that it’s pretty amazing that so many in law enforcement get it so right so often when you think of the the amount of calls for service that get answered daily. And I agree with you, in a wealthy country, poor training is not an acceptable excuse. Ever. But how does that get fixed by defunding the police?

        So how would you fix things, Art? How do you end racism as part of the human condition? How do you make it so human beings never make mistakes? How do you create common ground where we can communicate without condemnation?

        • art thiel

          If I had answers to all that, I wouldn’t be here with you. What I can say is that while defunding police is not the answer, taking steps to acknowledge racism in many police departments around the country is a start toward a solution. That can be started in part by zero tolerance from the police unions.

          • BD

            If you had the answers, I’d ask you to get busy eliminating war and poverty and hunger and terrorism and man’s inhumanity to man and then bring peace to the Middle East and goodwill towards all and and and and and…

            And unions have a purpose, just like defense lawyers.

    • Husky73

      I may not be in agreement with some or most of what you are saying, but I do give you credit for making important and overlooked points in this entire debate. They are certainly food for thought. However, protests turn into riots when arrests turn into murders.

      • BD

        Husky73, what, you don’t agree that human beings make mistakes? And you disagree with statistics that seem to imply, overwhelmingly, that the police get things right way more often than they get things wrong?

        And protests turn into riots when people violate the law. And when someone is killed during an arrest by the police, there is a legal process in place designed to determine if that killing was legally justified or not. And when it’s determined that it wasn’t, legal action against that police officer takes place. Which is then typically followed by civil action against that officer’s police department. It’s called jurisprudence and it’s what our country was designed on and depends upon to function properly.

        Freedom is hard.

  • rosetta_stoned

    I’m just glad the players are finally joining me in their boycott.

    • art thiel

      Does that mean you’ve quit following sports and then read this space for the politics? :)

  • Kirkland

    One thing to note: There is online chatter accusing Blake of a heinous assault crime, which some are using to discredit him and boycotting athletes and anti-police protestors. Although Blake has had a few charges against him, the assault is a hoax consisting of a sloppy Photoshop-like graphic. And it doesn’t hide the fact that the police shot an unarmed Black man in the back multiple times. Careful of what you retweet, folks. https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/jacob-blake-sexual-assault-charge/

    • art thiel

      Thanks for sharing the Snopes link. An important tool in sorting disinformation.

  • 1coolguy

    Now that we know the full story on Blake, his record, his refusal to comply, etc, I hope you write an addendum that includes what went on Art. His wife/partner called the cops because he apparently was not supposed to be there,
    Who in their right minds walks away from cops?
    ” According to court records, there was an active arrest warrant for Mr Blake relating to charges of third-degree sexual assault, trespassing and disorderly conduct in connection with domestic abuse on July 6.”
    Don’t NFL players get kicked out of the league for this?
    The stun gun unfortunately did not work and the cop then shot Blake. There were other cops there so why they didn’t use another stun gun is very sad.
    Why a guy needs to be shot, let alone 7 times, is beyond me and I’m sure this cop will be prosecuted.
    It will be valuable to read about the complete story.

    • art thiel

      I don’t plan to adjudicate the Blake episode here, because his background matters less than the police’s response. And he was unarmed, even as he seemingly threatened to arm himself. As you write, it is “very sad,” apparently the standard Trumpian response, that he was shot seven times in the back with his own kids in harm’s way.

      One of Doug Baldwin’s top priorities has been de-escalation training for police. As the son of a cop, he has a clear understanding of part of the solution, better than either of us.

      • BD

        Hey, small notation on the whole Doug Baldwin’s dad is a cop thing, so Baldwin must know something about police training and solutions and etc;

        Art, do your kids know how to be a good sportswriter because you’re one? Or would you want to be operated on by a guy because his dad was a surgeon?

        So if I want to know how to catch a football or run the NFL route tree, I’ll seek out Doug Baldwin. Otherwise…

      • Kirkland

        When Black hockey player P.K. Subban was traded to the Nashville Predators, he established a program called “Blueline Buddies”, which paired inner-city kids with police officers to form mentorships and build relationships. Traded to the New Jersey Devils last season, he’s continued the program in Newark. This is the sort of outreach more institutions could emulate.

        Here’s a sample of one facet of the program, where kids and officers attended a Devils game as P.K.’s guests: https://youtu.be/w9ytFCHmyK4

  • BB46

    J Adams is right. I also fear for my whole family. That is why I don’t go into the inner city at night. If I did and actually got attacked as an “Easy Mark” I’m sure people would say that is what I get for going down there at night. As in “What was he thinkin”???
    Seems we can say that about someone not listening to police.
    I would assume Blake was jacked up being in that situation which is why the police were called. I don’t believe you can put the police between a rock and a hard place and expect perfect outcomes every time. Man,,, HATE to see anybody get shot or killed.
    Was Blake’s shooting preventable? Heck yes. In my view the person who could have prevented it the easiest was Blake himself. When the police say STOP then STOP!!!!
    I’m just not sure that all the blame should go to the police. I would think that some burden needs to be taken by the jacked up people the police were called about in the first place. I’m also not so sure that if I (A white guy) did the exact thing that Blake did with his criminal past that I don’t get the exact same result.
    I wonder what the tox report will be on Blake. He was jacked up. But realistically it may be perfectly clean. It’s pretty common knowledge that 3 kids in the car with you is plenty enough to do that.

    • Archangelo Spumoni

      Seven (7) shots in the back from short range?

      • BB46

        Yep Stop means STOP