Pete Carroll talks social injustice, makes plea for ‘A New Empathy’ in open letter
SEATTLE — Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll shared a letter Thursday on social media calling for “a renewed commitment to empathy” as we “live in the midst of a cultural transformation.”
Carroll says technology has made it so easy for us to be distracted that we may be “unaware of where we find ourselves in terms of social and interracial development.”
Gone are the days of ignoring the social injustice that’s been happening in this country, he says.
“It is not too dramatic to say that there is a revolution of social awareness on our current horizon. And it seems we could miss it by burying our heads in the sands of complacency and delusion.
“These challenging times are not only testing our daily resolve; they are also calling us to search our souls for deeper meaning. We have been thrust into a moment in time where we can no longer ignore the real history of our nation — a history that not only ignored social injustice but fostered raging inequality. And a history so sordid that many have repressed and defended against the truth in an effort to ignore the despicable realities.”
Carroll continues calling for “A New Empathy” in which Americans learn from past mistakes and look at the world with “a fresh sensitivity and awareness.”
“Our leadership has opened the scars of our past by encouraging a reemergence of biased sentiments. Most of us in the majority have been raised with such a bias, often disguised, and eventually we became oblivious to the truth of our history. Our teachings have masked the facts, thus creating insensitivity and a lack of awareness about the realities of those in the minority.
“Ironically, this same leadership has now provoked an opportunity to surge toward a calling for openness and a newfound sensitivity, one grounded in a new caring, a new awareness, a new calling, a New Empathy!
“This New Empathy could serve as the baseline of thinking that would produce a willingness to see and listen with a fresh sensitivity and awareness — one that would facilitate the engagement necessary for real learning and understanding to take place. And this new understanding would open the passageways to true cultural transformation.”
Carroll admits this won’t be easy, but asks everyone to “build bridges instead of walls.”
“It won’t be easy, and of course, resistance is to be expected. There will be many unable to agree that we are even in need of a New Empathy. But can’t we all agree that people caring for people in need is a simple place to start?
“Please consider living out a renewed commitment to empathy. Make a conscious effort to listen, to understand, to care — to build bridges instead of building walls. Be a part of the change by moving toward a new caring for others.
“Help create a culture of New Empathy — one day at a time, one person at a time.”
Read the full letter below:
The Seahawks are known for being vocal about social issues.
Earlier this month, Carroll and several players discussed the NFL's new mandate that players on the field stand for the national anthem.
Carroll, his players and those around the league are now trying to figure out how to tackle the polarizing topic in the locker room.
"We're going to have to deal with that," Carroll said. "I was kind of liking the way it was going and so now it's kind of taken out of the control from the coach and the players and the locker room to a certain extent, so we're going to have to deal with that. In time, we'll figure it out."
Doug Baldwin had the most striking comments, directed at both the league and President Donald Trump after his remarks to "Fox & Friends" on Thursday saying "maybe you shouldn't be in the country" if you don't stand for the anthem.
"He's an idiot. Plain and simple," Baldwin said. "I respect the man because he's a human being first and foremost, but he's just being divisive, which is not surprising. It is what it is. But for him to say anybody who doesn't follow his viewpoints or his constituents viewpoints should be kicked out of the country is 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 upon. It's kind of ironic to me the President of the United States is contradicting what our country is really built on."
Even normally reserved quarterback Russell Wilson agreed with the sentiment that the owners' decision was a message to players to essentially be quiet.
"Pretty much. I think that's part of it. It seems that way," Wilson said. "But I think a policy right or wrong is not going to fix our problems."