Doug Baldwin on racial justice, second chances and giving back
In part one of our “Going Deep” interview with retired Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin, he talked about his childhood in west Florida, where he was raised by a police officer father and activist mother.
He said they often disagreed about how to make change in their community, but were always willing talk about that conflict with vulnerability and empathy.
Baldwin, who has used his platform to make an impact since his time as a player, took that lesson to heart. He’s always searching for common ground.
In 2017, Baldwin and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell jointly wrote a letter to congressional leaders to support a sentencing reform bill.
Then in 2018, Baldwin testified before the Washington State Legislature in support of Initiative 940, a criminal justice reform bill that would, among other things, require police officers to receive violence de-escalation training as well as mental health and first aid sessions. Voters approved the measure later that year.
In the audio clip above, we pick up the conversation from where we left off: Baldwin’s NFL career. He starts with the racial justice stance taken by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who sparked controversy when he kneeled during the national anthem.
Baldwin also talks about his recent appointment by Governor Jay Inslee to Washington’s Clemency and Pardons Board. And he explains how kids hanging out at a Teriyaki restaurant inspired his Family First Community Center in Renton, Washington, set to open next year.
Click the "Listen" button at the top of the page to hear the full interview.
On the racial justice movement
I don't think any of us went into the NFL thinking that we were going to become social activists … The challenge for … a lot of fans in the NFL and in sports in general, is that they come to the game, they watch the game to be entertained. And I recognize that. But we're not just zoo animals. We're not just tools to your entertainment. We are also human beings, again, who are impacted by the things that happen in our society.
On the Family First Community Center
I grew up in the back end of a community center, Salvation Army, that created a safe haven for me to be here today. And now I get to pay that forward to young folks are going to be growing up in that area to the space, to the place, the region that I now call home. And being able to give that back to the community is a special.