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Baldwin calls Trump ‘an idiot’ as he and Wilson blast NFL’s anthem decision

SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 31: Wide receiver Doug Baldwin #89 of the Seattle Seahawks points to the sky after scoring an 18 yard touchdown during the game against the Arizona Cardinals at CenturyLink Field on December 31, 2017 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr /Getty Images)

RENTON, Wash. – Doug Baldwin and Russell Wilson came out to different degrees Thursday against the NFL’s newly announced national anthem policy.

Baldwin in particular expressed fierce opposition during a press conference following the Seattle Seahawks OTAs at the VMAC, calling President Donald Trump “an idiot” after Trump implied that players who don’t stand during the national anthem shouldn’t be allowed to live in the U.S.

“He’s an idiot, plain and simple,” Baldwin said of Trump. “ I respect the man because he’s a human being, first and foremost, but he’s just being more divisive. Which is not surprising – I mean, it is what it is.

“But for him to say that anybody who doesn’t follow his viewpoints, or his constituents’ viewpoints, should be kicked out of the country? It’s not very empathetic. It’s not very American-like, actually, to me. It’s not very patriotic. It’s not what this country was founded on. So it’s ironic to me that President of the United States is contradicting what our country was really built on.”

Trump was addressing the NFL’s policy, which dictates that all players who are on the field during the national anthem must stand and show respect. Players can stay in the locker room during the anthem if they choose.

“Well, I think that’s good,” Trump told Fox and Friends. “I don’t think people should be staying in locker rooms. But still, I think it’s good. You have to stand proudly for the national anthem, or you shouldn’t be playing, you shouldn’t be there. Maybe you shouldn’t be in the country.”

Baldwin said he believed the protests would’ve died out on their own during the upcoming season, but said the NFL “really missed it with a policy that could reignite demonstrations.

“It’s inflamed this whole situation that we as players thought was calming down,” he said. “With the conversations that we’ve had as the players coalition with the NFL, the conversations that we’ve had with the league office, with Roger Goodell, with Troy Vincent, I thought that we were on a good track and that we would be coming toward an amicable relationship and working toward the things that we want to see. And I thought in doing so that we would see the demonstrations subside.”

Baldwin said the players will continue to work on community activism, and said he was particularly disappointed with the new policy because he’d chosen not to demonstrate last seen.

“I didn’t take a knee,” he said. “I didn’t raise a fist. I didn’t sit down. I stood.”

For his part, Wilson said it “seems like” the players are being told by the owners to shut up, and said the new policy missed the point.

“A policy, right or wrong, is not going to fix our problems,” he said.

Baldwin described the NFL’s decision as “an emotional hit,” and said he’s happy to be back in football mode because it serves as an outlet for him.

“I’m glad that I get to come out here with my teammates and demonstrate what unity should look like,” he said. “I wish that our president can come and see what it really takes to unify a team, a nation, a group of people together.”

Baldwin said he believes the NFL had every right to make the decision – “it’s a capitalistic system,” he said – but said there’s a difference between what the league can do and what it should do.

“The reason we were even having the conversation that we were having is that there was a loss of life,” he said. “Say what you will, but it was never about disrespecting the flag or the military or anything in that regard. It was about the loss of life that was happening in a particular community. There was frustration and enough was enough.

“Athletes, celebrities, those who have a platform, wanted to use their platform to speak up for those who don’t have a platform.”