RICHMOND, Va. — Super Bowl champion and Richmond native Russell Wilson admits he used to be a bully. Now he is opening up about his past in an effort to raise awareness and money to battle domestic violence.
“I used to beat people up. Truthfully, I used to beat people up a lot,” Wilson wrote in a post on The Players’ Tribune. Wilson is an editor on the website that promises to present “unfiltered voices of professional athletes.”
“Many of you readers probably think I have been Mr. Goody Two-Shoes my whole life, but honestly, I was a bully growing up,” he continued. “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.”
Wilson said he changed his bullying ways when he was”saved by faith” at age 14.
In his post, Wilson transitioned from his violent bullying past to the violent game of football to the larger issue of domestic violence.
“What can we do to help? All I can do is my small part. And I invite you to help me,” Wilson wrote. “I’ve recently launched the “Why Not You Foundation” where I’ll be raising funds and awareness for a number of worthy causes.”
Wilson said his first initiative will be “Pass the Peace.”
“The idea behind Pass the Peace 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,” he wrote. “Maybe in our cynical world, this seems too ambitious, or even naive. Maybe this issue is too taboo, too toxic. 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.”
Wilson asked those of you who Pass the Peace make a $2 donation or more to The National Domestic Violence Hotline.
“This issue is much bigger than NFL suspensions. 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,” Wilson wrote. “I can’t fix the world. I can’t fix the NFL. I can’t change the guys around me. The only person I can change is the one in the mirror. I’m not a perfect person by any means. I’m just a recovering bully. But if we start being honest about our pain, our anger, and our shortcomings instead of pretending they don’t exist, then maybe we’ll leave the world a better place than we found it.”