Christian quarterback Russell Wilson, who led the Seattle Seahawks to victory in the NFL Super Bowl this year, wrote a piece about domestic violence awareness in The Player's Tribune today.
After Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was caught on video knocking his then-fiancé unconscious, the NFL has been criticized for turning a blind eye to domestic violence. October is Domestic Violence Awareness month, and Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson wants to share a little bit about his testimony and his support for victims of domestic abuse.
"Truthfully, I used to beat people up a lot," Wilson writes - "Many of you readers probably think I have been Mr. Goody Two-Shoes my whole life, but honestly, I was a bully growing up. In elementary and middle school, I threw kids against the wall. I rubbed their heads in the dirt at recess. I bit them. I even knocked teeth out."
Thankfully, Wilson came to Christ as a teenager and God helped him to turn his life around and to harness his aggression. The NFL star now shares his faith openly and has helped to make an evangelistic DVD that some of the Seahawks players have distributed to fans at their games.
Wilson's faith has influenced the way that he views violence. "As NFL players, we do not play a gentle game. But our hits, our anger, our aggressive behaviors need to be regulated and confined to the field," the quarterback says.
Wilson believes that many in the NFL who may desire to create more awareness about domestic violence don't know how to broach such a sensitive topic, and that domestic abuse is not unique to professional football alone. Because of this, Wilson has created the "Why Not You Foundation" to fund raising awareness for issues like domestic violence. "Victims need physical, emotional and financial support and care, and the resources to get away from their abusers. Abusers, you need to get help-you can change," he writes.
Wilson encourages everybody to make at least a $2 donation to The National Domestic Violence Hotline by texting WNYPassThePeace to 41444. "This issue is much bigger than NFL suspensions. Domestic violence isn't going to disappear tomorrow or the next day," says Wilson - even though it is a delicate subject to speak about, he is determined to address it so that more healing can begin to take place.
"I'm not a perfect person by any means. I'm just a recovering bully," Wilson concludes - "But if we start being honest about our pain, our anger, and our shortcomings instead of pretending they don't exist, then maybe we'll leave the world a better place than we found it. For those of us in the NFL, there's no excuse for violence off the field."