From the moment the clock struck midnight to usher 2020, it's often felt as though there's been little room to catch a breather.
Nearly every corner of the world has been impacted in some way by the events of this year, whether it's been the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, social injustice or political issues. Many professional leagues and their prominent figures have made it a point to push to the forefront the need to end the pitfalls that have plagued our society for far too long.
In lieu of holding what could be seen as an important practice with the season looming, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll opted to give his guys the day off on Saturday in favor of using the entirety of his routine media session to passionately speak from the heart on what he's learned during this tumultuous time.
"Never before this year has it been so deep and so rich in the exchanges with our players and how they've taken this opportunity to teach us more and deeper about what the life of a Black man is like in America, Black men and women," Carroll said. "And they've been compelled to speak out more than ever. There's been less fear and less concern of what's gonna happen. … This has been a process of truth-telling and reality checks that just brings me to a point where as we're speaking about all that's going on, and this is about racism in America that white people don't know. They don't know enough and they need to be coached up and they need to be educated about what the heck is going on in this world."
For some, the problems somehow continously fall on deaf ears, something Carroll stated we all should be on-board with given the simplicity of what's being fought for. He cited the country's checkered past as the underlying cause for the well-known struggles that impact the lives of Black people, and encouraged the uninformed and unwilling to listen.
"It's not that they're not telling us, they've been telling us the stories and we know what's right and what's wrong. We just have not been open to listen to it. We've been unwilling to accept the real history, we've been taught a false history of what happened in this country. We've been basing things on false premises and it has not been about equality for all, it has not been about freedom for all, not been opportunity for all, and it needs to be," Carroll said, before labeling what the country is experiencing as a "humanity issue."
There is no quick fix for the systemic racism and police brutality that permeate our society but Carroll expressed his belief in the power of making a collective effort to dismantle these problems. His first call was to his fellow coaches.
"Coaches, I'm calling on you, all coaches, let's step up," he said. "No more being quiet, no more being afraid to talk to topics, no more, 'Well I'm a little bit uncomfortable, I might lose my job over this because I've taken a stand here or there.' Screw it, we can't do that anymore and maybe if we do, we can be a leadership group that stands out and maybe others will follow us."
His second call centered around the upcoming election. The NFL accelerated its efforts earlier this month to encourage people to get out and vote, and Carroll, who has helped lead the NFL Votes initiative, implored everyone to exercise their rights come November in an effort to "stop the people that are getting in the way" of change.
"Well, we got 60 days. The March on Washington was all about commitment. Why not take these 60 days and make a commitment to vote? And march together to get everybody in this country to vote," he said. "So, that everybody has the voice, and everybody that needs to speak out gets heard. And we don't let anybody squelch any aspect of the voting potential. Not one freakin' vote. And we need to start now.
"We need to start the process. Register, get voted. All of our players will be officially registered today. That's a start. 60 days to march. A commitment to vote. Can we get that done? We can, we can do that. At least that's proactive right now. 'Cause the hardest part is what do you do? Well first, we get educated. We start working on ourselves and try to understand really what's happening. It's unequivocal.
"There's no question what's happening. [My guys are] living scared to death. It never was okay. It's just now that we see so vividly what's going on, we have to get it stopped now. So, I hope somebody's listening 'cause we have to create the change and we got to be the change to get that done."