Gets Real: Two professional athletes using platform for good

Two professional athletes, one a former Seattle Seahawk, the other a Seattle Mariner, are both using their celebrity to give back.

Doug Baldwin retired as a Seahawk back in 2019. JP Crawford is in the middle of an already award-winning Mariner career.

Both know they have a platform for good and are using it.

He is a Gold Glove winner, considered one of the best shortstops in the game of baseball. Doing, he says, what he loves.

But at least a portion of JP Crawford’s big heart belongs to a trio of four-legged creatures.

“We have a big old pack (of Huskies),” said Crawford.

He’s not talking the UW Huskies, either. “Oh, no, fight on, USC all the way,” said Crawford. “But, yes, love my huskies though.”

His love for huskies began when he met the woman who is now his wife, his shoes a tribute to her Mexican heritage. Their dogs, he says, helped change his life.

“Just coming home after a game, just seeing their face, having them tackle me, just lick me to death, nothing better than that, nothing better than that,” said Crawford, smiling broadly. “I’m Dad. I’m just Dad. So, it doesn’t matter. You go four-for-four or 0-for-four during the day. You go home. And you get the same love every time.”

So, when he worked with Blazing Bagels to create the CRAWdaddy, his signature “everything bagel,” they made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. One dollar of each sandwich sold is to go to support the charity of his choice.

“So, I picked the Northwest Husky Foundation,” Crawford said. “Couldn’t think of anything better.”

Also known as the Northwest Snowdog rescue, it’s an adoption service based in Deer Park, Washington, some 34 miles north of Spokane. Its mission: ‘’Saving one Siberian Husky at a time.’’

“So, when I retired, I immediately went to go work for Intellectual Ventures, which is an incubator in Bellevue,” said former Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin.

Baldwin officially hung up his cleats back in 2019, five years after helping in the Seahawks historic Super Bowl win.

That was then.

“Graduated from Stanford with a degree in science, technology and society, which basically took psychology and business and mixed it together,” Baldwin said.

This is now.

“We use our resources to invest in empathetic solutions,” said Baldwin. “And increase access and opportunity and sense of belonging.”

And he is doing all of it in his wife’s hometown, Renton, now home base for his business foundation and their growing family.

“This was the place that welcomed me and accepted me as a young man trying to make his way into the NFL,” said Baldwin. “And then when I demonstrated who iI was through that platform, I was still accepted. And I was still seen as that individual. And loved and celebrated, in some ways.”

Still, he knows not everyone thinks athletes should use their platform to speak out on the issues of the day.

“It’s the same rhetoric that they told slaves when slaves wanted better treatment,” Baldwin said, bristling. “‘Shut up and pick the cotton.’ It’s the same rhetoric, the same mindset. You can’t tell somebody to shut up and do a certain thing when there is a complexity to that human being. And so the reason why I do the work is because I am one of those complex human beings. And I see the world from a perspective that I feel I can make an impact and I want to do that.”

Two professional athletes, one goal: working to make a difference in a society that has given each so much.

Doug Baldwin is partnering with United Way to sponsor their annual community barbeque. That kicks off Saturday, June 18, at 11 a.m. at the Renton Memorial Stadium.