“I used to beat people up,” Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson writes in an editorial on Derek Jeter’s The Players Tribune website, which launched earlier this week. “I used to beat people up a lot.”
Given Wilson’s squeaky clean image, it may come as a surprise that the 2014 Super Bowl champion quarterback admits he was a bully 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,” he states.
All of that angry behavior changed for Wilson when he turned 14-years-old and was saved by faith, and began “living for others instead of just myself.”
In his article called “Let’s Talk About It,” Wilson gives insight into his younger years as a stepping stone to address some of the domestic violence issues that have surfaced recently among NFL players, most notably with Ray Rice. Wilson believes that NFL players need to channel their anger and aggressive behavior on the field rather than in their personal relationships.
Wilson writes, “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 is not only a problem for the NFL, but infests families throughout the world, Wilson acknowledges. He explains that every day, up to 10,000 Americans are turned away from shelters because they don’t have enough resources.
Wilson established the “Why Not You Foundation” where he’ll be raising funds for a variety of charitable causes. His first mission is “Pass the Peace” which is a fund to support victims of domestic violence. He says that the objective is simple: “It’s a promise. I’m sharing my love for you. I want to take care of you. I am here for you.”
Wilson plans on using the resources to help victims get away from their abusers. The self-described “recovering bully” wrote, “Domestic violence isn’t going to disappear tomorrow or the next day. But the more that we choose not to talk about it, the more we shy away from the issue, the more we lose.”
Jeter’s new website lists Wilson as a senior editor. The venture looks to give professional athlete’s a platform to speak directly to fans and protect themselves from misinterpretations by the media. Jeter remarked in his debut editorial that “I’m in the process of building a place where athletes have the tools they need to share what they really think and feel. We want to have a way to connect directly with our fans, with no filter.”