The Seahawks will fly to Atlanta later this week for their regular-season opener, which means this week they're on the practice field getting ready for the Atlanta Falcons.
But while the Seahawks are fully focused on stopping the likes of Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Todd Gurley, they aren't forgetting people like Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd.
For the Seahawks, getting into regular-season mode will not mean ignoring what's happening in the real world. After spending much of their offseason and training camp splitting their attention between football and fighting against systemic racism and police brutality, the Seahawks won't be putting the fight for social justice on the back burner now that the season is here. Seahawks players wore shirts that read "Vote 2020" during video press conferences Wednesday, and Carroll made it clear that he and his players remain focused not just on football, but on using their platform to help with real-world issues.
"What I've encouraged the guys to do is, 'Let's stay with the topic. Let's get comfortable with staying with the topic so that we do stay in the present,'" Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Wednesday. "And we can handle it. We can handle it, and it's the right thing to do. We've got a lot of responsibility to keep learning and keep growing, and I want to keep helping our players be exposed to whatever they can be exposed to to learn and have a greater sense as they're going through this as well as everybody else.
"I feel there's a responsibility on my end of it to keep doing that, and in that, let's stay with it. This isn't something we just want to put in our back pocket and forget about it. It's too important. The whole thing we're talking about voting and all that, it's a huge issue that we want to be part of and we'd like to encourage and help it if there's some way that we can. That's coming from the players, so we will stay on topic when the opportunity arises."
Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner, one of the team's three captains, wants to see his teammates stay involved in their communities, and notes there's still so much work to do, pointing to the fact that the conversation hasn't changed much since he talked about these issues not long after Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police officers in May.
"I can't say that it's gotten too much better since then," Wagner said. "So I think it's just a being conscious and aware of what's going on in your world and understand the impact that you have and that you can have in your community, because I think it starts in your community. So I think everybody's working and trying to figure out ways that they can impact their community and impact the world, so I think it's important for everybody just really be conscious about things. I don't know if it's necessarily just about the gestures, because I feel like the gestures have been done. But having guys used their platform to help this world be better I think is really important."
Receiver Penny Hart, holding his first video press conference having just been promoted by the practice squad, used his time in front of the camera to preach a call to action that has been big for the team and the entire NFL this year.
"Before I go, I want to use this platform to tell everybody to get out and vote," Hart said. "Coach Carroll has pounded on that for us and given us a voice to be able say what we have to say and do what we have to do as far as continuing to educate each other across this country with everything going on. So I would encourage everybody to get out and vote, educate yourselves, get out of your comfort zones, because this is a time that a lot of people won't be able to get back."