Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin attempted to turn the tables on the debate over protests during the nation anthem on Tuesday. Specifically, by drawing attention to the fact that fans don’t always show respect for the anthem either.
In a press conference, Baldwin addressed a question about teammate Michael Bennett’s protest. Then he questioned why the conversation about respect for the anthem is always about the players, and not fans who yell, curse, and wear hats during the anthem.
“[Michael Bennett] is taking a reasonable and peaceful approach to something that I, I mean, I don’t know who doesn’t think is valiantly important to our society and the health and wellness of our communities, but yet we’re not talking about people who are in the stands drunk during the national anthem with their hats still on, yelling at players, cussing during the National Anthem. We’re not talking about that. . . . I know you guys are reporters and you’ve got to make a story about something but I just think we’re taking it too far.”
While Baldwin raises a fair point, in the sense that there are plenty of fans at sporting events who do not show proper respect for the anthem. There’s a rather large difference between not showing proper respect, and performing an act with the specific intent of disrespecting the anthem.
The fan who is drunk and cursing during the anthem, is certainly not behaving himself. However, presumably he’s been drunk and belligerent for several hours prior to the anthem, and likely will be for several hours thereafter. Meaning, though he’s disrespecting the anthem that’s not the point of his drunken belligerence.
On the other hand, Colin Kaepernick, Marshawn Lynch, and Michael Bennett, didn’t start misbehaving until the anthem began playing. Because disrespecting the anthem was exactly what they were trying to do.