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Pete Carroll calls for a ‘New Empathy’ amid reaction to NFL’s anthem policy

Pete Carroll wants us all to get along — and he thinks he knows a way it can happen.

Probably in response to the ongoing controversy involving some NFL players opting not to stand during the national anthem, the Seattle Seahawks coach penned an essay titled “A New Empathy” and posted it Thursday on social media.

In his writing, Carroll states that “our leadership has opened the scars of our past by encouraging a reemergence of biased sentiments.”

But the former USC coach goes on to put a positive spin on the notion. “Ironically, this same leadership has now provoked an opportunity to surge toward a calling for openness and a newfound sensitivity, one grounded in a new caring, a new awareness, a new calling, a New Empathy!” he wrote.

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“This New Empathy could serve as the baseline of thinking that would produce a willingness to see and listen with a fresh sensitivity and awareness — one that would facilitate the engagement necessary for real learning and understanding to take place. And this new understanding would open the passageways to true cultural transformation.”

Under a new policy approved by the NFL owners last week, players have the option of staying in the locker room during the national anthem. But a club will be fined if players or personnel are on the field and do not stand “and show respect for the flag and the anthem.”

President Trump applauded the move during a Fox News interview, saying of players who choose not to stand for the anthem, “maybe you shouldn’t be in the country.”

Seattle receiver Doug Baldwin had some strong words in return. “He’s an idiot. Plain and simple,” he said of Trump.

Under the New Empathy, maybe both men would have responded differently.

“Make a conscious effort to listen, to understand, to care — to build bridges instead of building walls,” Carroll wrote in his essay. “Be part of the change by moving toward a new caring for others.”

charles.schilken@latimes.com

Twitter: @chewkiii


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