Commentary: Seahawks demonstration of unity made me proud to be a fan, even prouder to be an American

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While I’m already proud to be a Seahawks fan, this team made me even more proud to be an American earlier today.

As planned, the Seahawks chose to stand and interlock arms in unity, in Doug Baldwin’s words, “to honor those who have fought for the freedom we cherish. And we stand to ensure the riches of freedom and the security of justice for all people. Progress can and will be made only if we stand together.”

I understand that some will say “they didn’t do enough” or “they shouldn’t have done anything at all.” But can we, at the very least, embrace the hope, the positivity, the unity for which they stood?

I get it: It was an idealistic message. But it was also a much-needed breath of fresh air from the non-stop debates over respect and disrespect toward our flag and national anthem – and a true reminder about what makes this nation great. In a world that is so quick to judge, can’t we embrace this powerful result of respectful and reportedly extensive dialogue inside a room of conscientious individuals?

I could think of many other ways that their actions could have been considered grandstanding or a distraction to the remembrance of 9/11 on its 15th Anniversary. Instead, I believe it was the perfect complementary piece: That we remember how unified this country was in the aftermath of such tragedy – how we all stood in solidarity with one another back then – and here the Seahawks stood, arm-in-arm, in alliance with one another today. To me, that’s not an insult to the memories of the victims. That’s a tribute to them – a unified resolve in honoring and bettering our country and the world in which we live.

Listen, I’m still undecided about social activism’s place in the sports world – but as I said a couple weeks ago, whether you like it or not, it’s here to stay.

And I also know that, regardless of the NFL’s stance on the issue, symbolic acts like today’s has every right to take place – that all the individual minds and spirits and opinions in the locker room shouldn’t be treated as worthless and belonging to some autobots whose sole job is to entertain us on a playing field. Let’s stop the blanket characterization of these athletes as egocentric and ignorant millionaires, which shows a blatant disregard for their backgrounds and communities from whence they came.

Call the players selfish for what they did today if you like – but I call them selfless. They put their individual feelings aside and linked arms as one in deference to our flag, to our country, to our military…to our humanity.

And yes, that call for change will continue to come in various ways as the season goes forward, and we might not agree with them all.

But with all eyes on them today, the Seahawks did it the right way.