While President Donald Trump continues to criticize the displays of protest and unity during the national anthem at NFL games, the Seattle Seahawks have decided to go one step further to promote equality for all.
The team announced Friday that it is launching a charity fund that will benefit education and leadership programs that fight inequality and promote justice, according to its official announcement.
The project was dubbed the Seahawks Players Equality & Justice for All Action Fund and aims to “build a more compassionate and inclusive society,” the team said in a statement.
The Seahawks announced its fund one week after the team skipped the national anthem, following the lead set by former San Fransisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who took a knee during the anthem in 2016 in response to the spike in police shootings of black people.
Kaepernick started his controversial protest because, as he explained last year, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”
Though many people see the gesture as disrespectful, other football players began following suit by taking a knee or linking arms during the anthem.
Trump reignited the debate last week when he called for fans to boycott games and asked NFL team owners to fire players who protested during the national anthem.
Since then, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and nearly all coaches and team owners have spoken out against the president’s comments in some way. And NFL teams across the board have demonstrated their own forms of protest during the anthem, like both the Seahawks and Tennessee Titans did during their game last week.
The Seahawks said in a statement that it still needs put together an advisory board made up of players and business and community leaders who will determine which nonprofits will be receiving the money raised.
“I think it’s imperative,” Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman said of the newly launched fund. “The way things are, you want to be a shining example of what things could [be] and how people could come together, and how it looks when people do come together and unite as one, and don’t look at skin color, don’t look at gender, don’t look at anything but the quality of someone’s character.
“We’re trying to do our best to be that example.”