RENTON, Wash. (AP) – Seahawk coach Pete Carroll wanted to talk about football matters – Seattle's commitment to running, the addition of two new coordinators, almost everything to do with the events between the lines.
Instead, the oldest coach in the league has worked on and discussed the League's new mandate in recent days. The players on the court stand for the national anthem. Carroll, his players and the NFL are now trying to figure out how to tackle the polarizing issue in the locker room.
"We have to deal with it," Carroll said. "I liked the way it went, and now it's sort of out of control of the coach and the players and the locker room, so we have to deal with it, and in time we'll find out."
Players from Seattle, Buffalo, Denver and New Orleans, among other things, were occupied with the question of how to move forward after the announcement of a new national anthem on Wednesday, when the players on the field do not stand for the anthem. Players who wish to continue demonstrations such as Colin Kaepernick's Kneeling Movement in protest of social injustice may stay in the locker room during the anthem.
Doug Baldwin of Seattle had the most compelling comments addressed to both the league and President Donald Trump after saying to Fox & Friends on Thursday: "Maybe you should not be in the country" when you do not stand for the anthem.
"He's an idiot, plain and simple," Baldwin said, "I respect the man because he's first and foremost a human being, but he's just fissuring, which is not surprising. It is what it is. But to say to him that someone who does not follow his standpoints or his votes should be thrown out of the country is not very empathetic. It is not very American for me. It is not very patriotic. It is not what this country was founded on. It is somehow ironic that the President of the United States disagrees with what our country is really built on. "
Seattle regulars Russell Wilson, who is normally reserved, agreed with the feeling that the owner's decision was a message to the players to be essentially quiet.
"Pretty much, I think that's part of it, it seems that way," Wilson said. "But I think a policy that is right or wrong will not solve our problems."
The new policy allows teams to adopt their own workplace rules, which have been interpreted by many players as a devious way of penalizing them with fines, suspensions or job losses if they continue with the protests.
Players are also frustrated that the league has not consulted with the players' association before announcing the policy.
"I mean, they would never engage us anyway, if you really think about it, why should we have a say?" Said Denver linebacker Brandon Marshall. "I think they should have, right, but I guess they do not look at us to have a say or influence on this policy."
Others in the league did not see politics as a potential problem.
"I really do not worry, I would expect everyone to be out there with their hands over their hearts, respecting the flag and the country," said New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees.
But teammate Demario Davis had mixed feelings about politics. His father served in the military, but he also understands why players have protested.
"I just think that if you love something ̵
"I think that's the difference between patriotism and nationalism Nationalism loves your country just to love it, you know, even if it's right or wrong, you'll take the side of your country Patriotism loves it's enough to sacrifice for, but also to call it, if it's wrong.
"The people who work for the people who are hurt, have a deep love and devotion for our country, that's sometimes misunderstood, but it's important that people understand that."
The owners' decision was an attempt to stifle a firestorm by removing protests from the public and possibly throwing back disgruntled fans. But maybe they upset and revived their employees, which seemed to be a dying topic.
"With this policy, with the blatant statement that Roger Goodell (Wednesday) reissued, you opened the door for the answer and back to my point earlier, I think they missed it," Baldwin said.
AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Stapleton and AP Sports Writer Brett Martel have contributed to this report.