RON AND DON

Steve Largent talks national anthem, white privilege and Seahawks

Sep 7, 2016, 6:12 PM | Updated: Sep 8, 2016, 8:36 am
Steve Largent...
Steve Largent says the national anthem is not the time to protest. (AP)
(AP)

Ever since football player Colin Kaepernick opted to sit during the national anthem, a debate has grown over when the appropriate time is to make a statement. Enter Seahawk hall-of-famer Steve Largent into that debate.

“That’s a moment as a player to stop, reflect and acknowledge that there’s been a lot of sacrifices made to get us to a point in this country, even to have to the opportunity we have as players to play this game, be paid as much as we do, and everything else,” Largent told KIRO Radio’s Ron and Don. “Taking a pot shot at some cause, whatever it is, during the national anthem is inappropriate.”

Baldwin says he, teammates have considered joining protest

Steve Largent was a Seattle Seahawks wide receiver from 1976 to 1989 and boasts a number of titles, including status in the NFL Hall of Fame. After his sports career, he entered politics in his home state of Oklahoma. Running as a Republican, he was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1994 to 2002.

But more recently, football has been drawing attention as some players — starting with 49ers Colin Kaepernick — sit during the national anthem before games. It is meant as a silent protest over issues of racial oppression in the United States, including police shootings of African Americans. Some call Kaepernick a patriot for controversially exercising his freedom of speech, and others say it’s not the appropriate time to make his point.

You can add Steve Largent to the latter camp.

“Maybe I’m just from another era,” Largent said. “I think there’s a lot of opportunities that players have to make their point. I think doing it during the national anthem is not the right time for any kind of statement to be made. You have a microphone in your face, or pen on a paper at the drop of a hat. So there’s a lot of times to make political statements or make statements of disappointment — whatever you want to make. But don’t make it during the national anthem. There’ve been too many people in our country that have fought hard for that flag.”

“I know they’ll say that this is not about (people who fought hard),” he added. “Well ya know, in fact, it really is. When you are making a point, whatever it is, and you’re doing it during the national anthem – that anthem means something to me, and it should mean something to everyone.”

Ron pressed Largent on race issues in the country, noting that there are perceptions from some black players who grew up in bad neighborhoods and worry that there isn’t liberty and justice for all. Largent agreed, to a point, but thinks that the national anthem is a separate issue.

“I don’t understand where they are coming from because I didn’t grow up that way,” Largent said. “My parents didn’t have two cents to rub between them. And I definitely grew up in a poor part of Oklahoma City … my step-father made $22,000 while I was being raised. It wasn’t like I was coming from a rich family. But I never felt like I was being oppressed, or anyone was holding me down. But there are black families in this country that feel that way. I understand that – I get that.”

“The thing I draw a line on is when you are trying to honor the country that has given all of us so many opportunities,” he said. “What I am saying has nothing to do with whether or not I think black families have been disadvantaged in this country. I think those cases are true and real — I’m not discounting that at all. But I think there is a better and more appropriate time to make a statement.”

What about white privilege, though, Don pressed. Could that be part of Steve Largent’s perspective and how he experienced life, and success?

“I felt like everything I got I earned. I had to earn it,” Largent added. “Nobody was giving me anything. There were a lot of kids like me in Oklahoma City where I was raised that didn’t have two nickels to rub between them. I would be offended if somebody said that to me. Because it’s not true. I understand that there were others, white kids who had big advantages over me. But I wasn’t one of those guys.”

Ron and Don

...
KIRO Newsradio Newsdesk

Ron and Don’s last show on KIRO Radio

Last night was Ron and Don’s last show on KIRO Radio.
4 years ago
Kelly Herzberg in her natural habitat. (Photo by Rachel Belle)...
Rachel Belle

In Seattle, a personal shopper and stylist who only shops at thrift stores

If you think you can't afford a personal stylist, head to the thrift store with Sweet Kelly Anne Styling's Kelly Herzberg who will pull hundreds of pieces for you to try on.
4 years ago
Viaduct waterfront...
Ron Upshaw

What do we do with the waterfront after the viaduct is gone?

After the viaduct is taken down, we'll be left with a choice: What do we do with one of the most beautiful waterfronts in the country?
4 years ago
(MyNorthwest)...
Ron Upshaw

Shower Thoughts: Ichiro can give Mariners fans something to root for

Rumor has it that Ichiro might make a comeback next year, and I for one welcome it.
4 years ago
Border wall...
Ron Upshaw

Trying to figure out why people want Trump’s border wall

A little over 40 percent of Americans now support the idea of a border wall, but what is it about it that seems so attractive?
4 years ago
Dan McCartney, Pierce County Sheriff...
Don O'Neill

Why you could hear kids’ voices on Pierce County Sheriff radios Monday night

Sometimes, "gone but not forgotten" isn't always how slain officers are remembered. But in Pierce County, a special effort is being made to commemorate a fallen deputy.
4 years ago

Sponsored Articles

SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
Steve Largent talks national anthem, white privilege and Seahawks