*Domestic violence in the NFL has become a hot button issue. And Russell Wilson knows it.
The Seattle Seahawks quarterback expressed his feelings on the issue with an essay published on Derek Jeter’s new blog/website, “The Players’ Tribune.” In the essay, titled “Let’s Talk About It,” Wilson reflects on the impact domestic violence has on our society while referencing a time in his childhood where he admits to being a bully. One who did everything from biting other children to knocking the teeth out of their mouths.
Fortunately, Wilson managed to overcome his bullying by finding religion as a teenager. The athlete, who serves as a “Senior Editor” for the “The Players’ Tribune,” goes on relay how the NFL and its players can be agents for change in spite of stories highlighting the conduct of some of the league’s players.
The following is an excerpt from “Let’s Talk About It”:
I used to beat people up. Truthfully, I used to beat people up a lot. 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.
I had a lot of anger that I didn’t know what to do with. Thankfully, I was saved by my faith when I was 14 years old, and was able to start living for others instead of just myself. But if you’ve ever been at the bottom of a pile with me, you know that I still have a bit of that bully deep down inside—just ask DeMarcus Ware—and I work hard to keep it there.
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. Recent incidents of domestic violence have forced The League, its fans and the players to take a hard look into our collective conscience. To be honest, many NFL players are reluctant to address such a sensitive issue. How do you fix a problem so big and complex? How do you speak about something so damaging and painful to families?
Domestic violence extends far beyond the spotlight of the NFL. It’s not unique to my profession. It’s not confined to America. All over the world, right at this moment, men, women and children are taking refuge in anonymous shelters. Many more are suffering silently, without protection. Every day, up to 10,000 Americans are turned away from shelters due to lack of resources.
In addition to revealing his bullying past, Wilson mentions his foundation and how ordinary people can make a difference in addressing the issue of domestic violence.
Wilson’s essay is the first posting from someone other than Jeter on “The Players’ Tribune.” In an introduction to the site, Jeter wrote that his latest venture is a conduit to unfiltered access to athletes, “a place where athletes have the tools they need to share what they really think and feel.” Wilson is listed as a “Senior Editor” for the site.
To read Wilson’s essay in its entirety, click here.