RENTON, Wash. - Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin called for a review of training policies for law enforcement across the country on Thursday in the wake of a pair of police shootings, saying the message NFL players are trying to send with their actions during the national anthem now needs follow through.
"You've heard the message, you've seen the protest and now we're working on the follow through," Baldwin said. "Again, we're only a small group, a small portion of the population and there are people out there that have greater power than we do. Our voice is still going to continue to be heard but at the same time we need those that have the power to make the changes and act."
Baldwin gave a prepared statement in a fashion similar to what teammate Richard Sherman did a day earlier but then expanded on his initial comments. Baldwin made the request for all 50 state attorneys general to "call for a review of their policies and training policies for police and law enforcement to eliminate militaristic cultures while putting a higher emphasis on de-escalation tactics and crisis management measures."
Baldwin said he had consulted with his father, a police officer in Pensacola, Florida, to gather information. Baldwin has also reached out to local law enforcement and elected officials in the Seattle area. His request caught the attention of at least one attorney general, Washington's Bob Ferguson, who tweeted from the office's official account that he would be reaching out to speak with Baldwin.
"The situation that's upon us right now, what's going on in our country, it's devastating, but now it has to reach a point of intolerable. We cannot tolerate this," Baldwin said. "Lives are being lost and there are questions that need to be answered and people deserve an answer and I think that's where we're at right now."
Baldwin and Sherman's statements came in the wake of a pair of police shootings, one in Charlotte, North Carolina, another in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Baldwin said he was inspired to speak out Thursday by the video of the incident in Tulsa, where a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black man on a city street.
"When you see numerous instances like this happen, and again, you don't know all the context, but you're asking questions. And we also know that the laws that are in place and policies that are in place that protect the law enforcement from any persecution, we understand that there's an inherent risk that comes with being a police officer. But that should not be the case of being a citizen in the United States," Baldwin said. "There should not be an inherent risk when you have an encounter with law enforcement. There should not be a concern or worry that the law enforcement is not there to protect you. And I think that we're raising a culture or society right now that is questioning that very sentiment. And so as a human being, I can't help but sit up here and tell you how I feel and let you know that it's not OK."