Last night, Doug Baldwin and his Seattle Seahawks teammate Michael Bennett participated in a CNN town hall discussion, moderated by Anderson Cooper, and dropped some absolute truth bombs that had the panel fidgeting in their seats.
Earlier in the program, the panelist Reverend Michael Faulkner, a former NFL player who lands pretty squarely in Baldwin's political camp touched upon the hypocrisy of people claiming that NFL protests are un-American, and decided to dig into the history books to prove a point.
"Talk about the DNA of America?" Rev. Faulker asked rhetorically. "The DNA of America is protests. The Boston Tea Party is what got this whole thing kicked off. It was a protest movement."
Finally, a little bit of context for us here, as opposed to inchoate internet shouting. But then Baldwin—who was clearly listening to the whole debate while off-camera in Seattle—came back to politely check the good Reverend's assessment of the beginning of the Revolutionary War:
Baldwin tells the Reverend, nearly 25 minutes after Faulkner made his point,
"First and foremost, I want to go back to back to something the Reverend said earlier. He said the Boston Tea Party got this kicked off. I'm sorry, sir, you're incorrect. That was the Boston Massacre that happened three years prior to that when nine British police officers—armed police officers—gunned down some unarmed Americans. That's where this got kicked off."
While, yes, Baldwin's moment elicits a schoolyard, "ooooh, he told you!" kind of reaction, Baldwin makes an important distinction that goes beyond the blast range of his truth bomb.
What Baldwin is highlighting is that the Revolution was first sparked by an act of injustice—when British troops killed unarmed protestors in the Boston Massacre. In fact, the first person killed was Crispus Attucks, who historians believe was the son of a slave taken from Africa to the colonies, and a Native American woman. Baldwin's point stands to say that the Revolutionary War may have started because an officer shot an unarmed black man.
Earlier in the broadcast, Baldwin pointed out that he and his fellow players are not protesting against the troops—they are protesting because the troops allow them to: "The sacrifices of many in our country allow us to exercise our first amendment rights." And here's a clip of Baldwin elaborating on that exact point two days prior:
Baldwin has become an incredible spokesman for a league that is so often discredited for its brute, mind-numbing violence. The only parallel I'm coming up with off the bat is the time Dee Snider—the flamboyant, lewd lead singer of Twisted Sister—was called to testify in front of the Senate about vulgarity in rock music. Well, the Senate certainly wasn't ready for how woke and well-spoken Snider was going to be.
If the White House takes Bennett up on his offer to speak with Donald Trump about the police brutality protests, it would be great if he could bring Baldwin along too. I'm sure Trump could use some fact checking.