Russell Wilson launches "Pass The Peace" campaign to support victims of domestic violence
‘I think I have the power to help others and encourage others.’
RENTON – Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson broke from tradition when he held his regular weekly meeting with the media Friday.
Instead of his usual red Seahawks practice jersey, he wore a purple Pass the Peace sweatshirt. And instead of ending the news conference with his trademark “Go Hawks,’’ he added “Pass the Peace.
It was all a continuation of efforts Wilson began the day before to much acclaim when it was revealed he would be a senior editor for a new website run by Derek Jeter. Wilson announced on the site, The Players’ Tribune, that he was launching a foundation called Why Not You with an initial goal of helping combat domestic violence. Wilson is asking people to Pass the Peace to support victims of domestic violence. The first two people he challenged were Jeter and singer/actor Justin Timberlake.
Wilson said he was inspired to begin the foundation and campaign while listening to the Michael Jackson song “Man in the Mirror’’ while flying to California during the team’s bye last week.
“I had been thinking about it for a while, the whole domestic violence situation going on, and I knew that I could hopefully make a difference being the quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks,’’ Wilson said.
He had met with Jeter when the Yankees were in town for a series in June. That’s when initial plans were hatched for the foundation.
What got the most attention Thursday, though, was Wilson’s admission that, until age 14, he considered himself a bully.
“It was difficult to write,’’ Wilson said. “To tell you guys I was a bad kid growing up, to kind of go in-depth about that. You know, I used to have anger issues. I’d get mad all the time.’’
But Wilson said he thought it important to reveal that side of his past to illustrate that people can change behaviors with the help of others.
“For me, I’ve been graced with great family, with great people who have encouraged me, instead of discouraged me,’’ he said. “And that’s what I want to do with the Why Not You Foundation and the Pass the Peace initiative. And the whole idea of The Players’ Tribune, to write that first article, it was kind of, ‘OK, I’m going to step forward and do something.’ ’’
Wilson said the root of his anger was being “just so competitive. I thought I owned the playground. I thought I owned the classroom. I thought I was bigger than who I was. I thought I would never get in trouble for anything. I thought that was the way to go. I thought that was being a man, as a young kid, for whatever reason.’’
Asked to detail the worst of his bullying acts, Wilson responded: “Oh, man. Knock people’s teeth out on a regular basis, probably. Used to bang their heads up against the wall. Used to throw them against the wall. I used to cuss all the time. I used to be a bad kid, man. But I grew from that. Back then it was one of those things that I was kind of immature. Now I transitioned into this maturation — big time.”
Wilson said a change in his faith at the age of 14 led to a change in his attitudes and actions.
“Once I kind of got that in my life, I knew what to focus my life on,’’ he said.
Wilson stepping out publicly might be viewed as a sign of growth for a player whose devotion to football has been well-documented.
Wilson says that as a Super Bowl-champion quarterback, he has a rare platform. And this week he made his boldest move yet to take advantage of it.
“I’m a very reserved person for the most part,’’ said Wilson, who turns 26 on Nov. 29. “I want to be able to do different things. I’m not just about football. I think I have the power to help others and encourage others.’’
Source: Bob Condotta: seattletimes.com. / Edited by Love Survives
Man In the Mirror
The Essential Michael Jackson