SEATTLE — Russell Wilson weighed in on domestic violence in the NFL Thursday, saying anger he harbored as a young boy now comes out in appropriate ways on the football field.
“I used to beat people up,” Wilson says in an editorial posted on The Player’s Tribune. “Many of you readers probably think I have been Mr. Goody Two-Shoes my whole life, but honestly, I was a bully growing up.”
Wilson's editorial on domestic violence is part of an effort to get players and the League to talk more seriously about the issue. Recently, the NFL has been embroiled in high-profile cases of domestic abuse by some of its players, must notably Ray Rice, a former Baltimore Ravens running back. Wilson argues talking about domestic violence and its prevalence more openly could go a long way in helping to fix such a far-reaching problem.
He says his bully ways changed when he found God. Now, he channels that anger inside him only when he's out on the football field, something he encourages others in the NFL to do more.
"As NFL players,k we do not play a gentle game," he said. "But our hits, our anger, or aggressive behaviors need to be regulated and confined to the field."
He acknowledges domestic violence goes far beyond the NFL, with many women and children in refuge centers around the country. Talking about abuse first in the NFL is a great step to change how we talk about abuse in this country, he says.
"This issues us much bigger than NFL suspensions," Wilson says. "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."
He announced his Pass the Peace campaign in his editorial, a fundraising campaign geared at raising money for domestic abuse shelters, social workers and therapists. Pass the Peace is part of Wilson's new "Why Not You Foundation," a foundation started by Wilson to raise money for charitable cause.
Wilson encourages individuals to make a $2 donation to his Pass the Peace campaign. More information on Wilson's Pass the Peace campaign can be found here.
To read the full editorial, click here.