Seahawks QB Russell Wilson Joins Derek Jeter's Digital Venture, Addresses Domestic Violence
The "recovering bully" says "there's no excuse for violence off the field"
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has joined Derek Jeter's new digital venture The Players' Tribune as the website's first senior editor, and he's using his inagural piece for the site to speak out about domestic violence, including his past as a bully.
"It's simple. Derek Jeter and Legendary are at the top of the game. That's where I want to go,” Wilson said in a statement of the decision to join The Players' Tribune, which Jeter launched Wednesday in partnership with Legendary Entertainment.
In his first-person essay, Wilson reveals that he used to be a bully.
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"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," he writes.
He adds that he changed his ways when he was 14 but still has "a bit of that bully deep down inside — just ask DeMarcus Ware — and I work hard to keep it there."
But despite his violent past and still being aggressive on the field, he says "there's no excuse for violence off the field," taking up the hot-button issue of domestic violence, which many NFL players have been reluctant to address as such players as Ray Rice, Greg Hardy and Jonathan Dwyer have been charged with domestic abuse.
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"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," he writes.
Wilson notes that the issue of domestic violence extends beyond the NFL and is a complex problem but explains why he's opening up on The Players' Tribune.
"I’ve tended to avoid controversial topics throughout my career, but in my first piece for The Players’ Tribune, I wanted to be open and address something that’s important, timely and relevant," he writes. "I’ve been silent on the issue for too long, falling back on the 'I can’t speak to someone else’s personal life' excuse. But 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."
Wilson then urges readers to donate to the National Domestic Violence Hotline and says he'll be raising funds and awareness for several causes, including the victims of domestic violence.
Jeter launched The Players' Tribune as a way for athletes to connect directly with their fans, indicating that he was trying to offer players a place where they could speak freely without the risk of having their comments distorted by the media.
In addition to first-person stories, The Players' Tribune will allow athletes to share videos, podcasts, photo galleries, polls and more, covering everything from sports commentary to lifestyle and popular culture.
The Players' Tribune is set to add additional professional athlete editors and contributors over the next few months, with the goal of transforming it into an online community.