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Tuesday Round-Up: Seahawks Legend Doug Baldwin Challenges NFL to Ramp Up Social Activism on The Athletic's Between The Lines Podcast

Former Seahawk receiver and social activist Doug Baldwin Jr. sat down with host Tashan Reed and to discuss what the league gets right and how it can improve support of social activism.


Good morning, 12s. Here's a look at what's out there today — Tuesday, February 28 — about your Seattle Seahawks.

Seahawks Legend Doug Baldwin Talks Player Activism & How The NFL Can Do More On Between The Lines Podcast

Seahawks Legend and 2023 Paul G. Allen Humanitarian Award winner Doug Baldwin Jr. is known for being as passionate about changing lives as he once was about catching touchdowns. Last week, Baldwin joined NFL writer and podcast host Tashan Reed on The Athletic's Between The Linespodcast to discuss the rise of player activism in the summer of 2020, along with ways the NFL can improve support for its Black athletes standing up for change in America and beyond.

Over the course of eight professional seasons in Seattle, Baldwin etched his place in the franchise's record books while serving as a staunch advocate for social advancement. A vocal leader on-and-off the field, the Stanford graduate used his platform to advocate for change throughout his career and continues to do so. Baldwin revealed in 2016 that he’d received death threats for calling for police reform. Baldwin spoke in support of former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who initiated conversations about social, racial and economic injustices while kneeling pre-game during the National Anthem in 2016.

"The reason you're asking me this question [about Kaepernick and the state of law enforcement in the United States] is because Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem, and regardless of what people want to say about it disrespecting the military or the country or whatever it may be, he shed light on an issue that needed to be revealed," Baldwin said. "So now we're having this conversation. I'm fortunate enough and glad that he did that. He took the leadership role, stepped up, took the hits, and now we're able to move forward with this conversation."

On the second episode of Between the Lines, Baldwin discussed speaking up when other Black players may have been in fear of losing their jobs. 

"I couldn't sit around and not do anything about what was going on in our country," said Baldwin. "Or at least address it from a perspective or an angle that I thought that I could have some impact in."

Baldwin discussed the change in the Seahawks locker room after Kaepernick took a knee. 

"Politics usually didn't have a place in the locker room," said Baldwin. "We didn't talk much about what was going on in the political landscape. We'd talk about different things, different subjects; but it wasn't to the hype that it was when Kaepernick took a knee. And the discussions on what was going on around our country was so prevalent, you couldn't get away from it."

Baldwin jumped head-first into communicating with local law enforcement to gain a greater understanding of each other, while joining forces with Seahawks Legends Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril to create the non-profit Champions of Change. But with a few years passing since Baldwin hung up his cleats and made the shift to other ventures to give back to the youth, he's asking the NFL to match the efforts of players like himself to change the communities where they came from.

"If you're going to benefit from the drive and motivation of these players comes from a very specific place," said Baldwin. "And I'm not trying to get too deep into this, but there's a reason why players are willing to do what they do on the football field and disregard their bodies. If somebody benefits from that, then I think, yeah, they have an obligation to give back to the community, to the sources, to the origin of why that is what it is in the first place."

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