Most Seattle Seahawks fans love Coach Pete Carroll because he’s cultivated a football team great enough to get to and possibly win the Super Bowl two years in a row. There are a few fans, however, who are cheering the Seahawks and Carroll on for a less obvious reason: These fans see Carroll as a leader of a very different group — the 9/11 Truth movement.
“He kind of became an instant celebrity in the 9/11 Truth movement,” Danny Torgersen, a member of the 9/11 Studies and Outreach Club at Arizona State University, told USA Today on Friday. “He’s won the Super Bowl once, he might win it again. That’s lots of credibility and popularity.”
Known more simply as “Truthers,” this group believes the World Trade Center’s twin towers in Lower Manhattan came down on Sept. 11, 2001, as a direct result of U.S. government planning. As to whether Carroll is Truther himself, however, that’s highly debatable.
“Is Seahawks coach Pete Carroll a 9/11 truther?” Deadspin asked in 2013. “That all depends: Does badgering a former four-star general about whether 9/11 was real make one a truther?”
Although Carroll’s never publicly stated he does not believe what most people consider fact (that the terrorist group Al-Qaeda perpetrated the 9/11 attacks), rumors have circulated for years that he’s a truther. Deadspin reported that during a 2013 meeting with retired Army Gen. Peter Chiarelli, who happens to be a Seahawks fan, Carroll pressed him about several 9/11 conspiracy theories.
“Every 9/11 conspiracy theory you can think of, Pete asked about,” former NFL linebacker Riki Ellison, who reportedly introduced Carroll to Chiarelli, told Deadspin. “And he didn’t stop at 9/11 — he had lots of questions about the role of the military today,” added Ellison, who said he was at the meeting.
Carroll’s skepticism about the military’s role in Iraq is a known fact. Last year, the 63-year-old coach publicly vocalized his opinion on the U.S. invasion of Iraq while making an anecdote about trading Percy Harvin. He said if he was in charge of the war in Iraq, he would’ve employed a very different strategy; Carroll advocated less “shock and awe,” and more “talking and listening” to Seattle Times columnist Jerry Brewer.
No matter Carroll’s actual views on the military or 9/11 or politics in general, though, the very fact that his name is even slightly associated with the 9/11 Truth movement is good enough for some.
“I believe that the implied support of Pete Carroll does help our cause,” Matthew Mills, the Brooklyn man who sneaked past security to shout “Investigate 9/11!” while Malcolm Smith was being presented with the Super Bowl MVP trophy last year, told USA Today. “Every single 9/11 skeptic that I have ever spoken to has great respect for him.”
Carroll is apparently fine with that association, too.
“Any notoriety is good, I guess,” Carroll told USA Today. “I will always be interested in the truth, yeah.”