RENTON, Wash. – Doug Baldwin is happy to admit he’s changed.
Although newer Seattle Seahawks fans know Baldwin as much for his social activism as for his Pro Bowl-caliber work as a wide receiver, it wasn’t long ago that he was widely known as Angry Doug.
“Five years ago I was still very selfish, and still very in my own world, in my own bubble,” Baldwin said during an exclusive interview with the official home of the Seahawks, Q13 FOX. “… Five years ago, I was still so wrapped up in Instagram and Twitter, blinded by real stuff that’s going on in the world.”
Even Baldwin is surprised at the level of his own community involvement. He’s held meetings with police officials, community leaders and politicians, recently called President Trump “an idiot,” and was awarded the MLK Medal of Distinguished Service by King County for his work getting the Family First Community Center built.
“The biggest takeaway from all the meetings, from all the research, from all the speakers has been that there’s just a lack of empathy overall,” Baldwin said. “Every conversation that I’ve had, every situation that I’ve looked at, there’s just a lack of empathy.”
Baldwin said the lack of empathy leads to a lack of connection across communities.
“It’s kind of disheartening at times how difficult it is for people, for us, to look at each other as other human beings, just trying to struggle and to survive,” he said. “To put food on the table for our families, to provide for our families. To feel safe, and then lastly to feel loved and valued. For whatever reason, we think that that’s different for each person. But truly, when you break it down, when you pull off the layers of insecurities and greed, really what it comes down to is we want to feel safe, we want to feel loved and we want to feel valued.
“I think that the biggest takeaway from all those conversations is that it’s so hard to be empathic about each other.”
As Balwin’s activism has ramped up, there’s been speculation in the media and among fans that he could be eyeing a future in politics.
Don’t count on it.
“I don’t plan on it,” Baldwin said. “I would like to not have gray hair at any time in my life.”