Carroll wishes he could talk to Trump: ‘I just wish he would understand that this is a moment to be empathetic’

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 14: Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll looks on against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome on January 14, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

SEATTLE – Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll told CNN on Tuesday evening “I wish I had a chance to sit down” with President Donald Trump to discuss the protests that spread across the NFL last weekend.

Carroll again addressed the team’s reasons for staying the locker room while the national anthem played prior to the game against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, again emphasizing that no disrespect was intended to the military or the American flag.

“It’s the opposite,” Carroll said. “I think they’re talking on behalf of freedom of speech, and the Constitution, and having a message that they really want to impart to the people in the country.”

CNN’s Anderson Cooper asked Carroll what he would tell Trump, given the opportunity to talk to him.

Carroll said he “would love to do that.”

“I just wish he would understand that this is a moment to be empathetic, and to listen, and to listen to what everybody’s saying, and to have a chance to feel what that’s all about without passing judgment,” Carroll said. “That’s what needs to happen.”

Carroll said it’s important to understand why members of the Seahawks feel so strongly.

“Our players clearly understand inequality. They clearly understand what it is to be marginalized. And they know that when they’re not football players and they’re off the field in their everyday lives, and they know that when they’re with their children and they have to prepare their children to act properly and be safe because of the things that they’re up against.”

Carroll didn’t directly answer when Cooper asked if he thought the protest would continue.

“This is a dialogue that is so important, that whatever we have to go to for the next steps, our guys are willing to do that,” he said.