Sportress of Blogitude

Russell Wilson pens essay for Derek Jeter’s new site, admits he was a bully as a kid


Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson admitted in an essay published Wednesday that he was a bully as a child, prone to biting other children, even knocking the teeth out of the mouths of his peers.

In an essay entitled, “Let’s Talk About It,” Wilson addresses the pervasive and devastating impact domestic violence has on our society at-large, but specifically addresses how his bullying was curtailed by finding religion as a teenager and how the NFL and its players can be agents for change, despite the troubling stories emerging from the shadows regarding the conduct of some of the league’s players.

The introductory few paragraphs.

I used to beat people up. Truthfully, I used to beat people up a lot. 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.

I had a lot of anger that I didn’t know what to do with. Thankfully, I was saved by my faith when I was 14 years old, and was able to start living for others instead of just myself. But if you’ve ever been at the bottom of a pile with me, you know that I still have a bit of that bully deep down inside—just ask DeMarcus Ware—and I work hard to keep it there.

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. 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 extends far beyond the spotlight of the NFL. It’s not unique to my profession. It’s not confined to America. All over the world, right at this moment, men, women and children are taking refuge in anonymous shelters. Many more are suffering silently, without protection. Every day, up to 10,000 Americans are turned away from shelters due to lack of resources.

Wilson goes on to discuss his foundation and how ordinary folks can make a difference in addressing the domestic violence problem.

Wilson is the first athlete other than Derek Jeter himself to pen an essay for the retired New York Yankees superstar’s new blog/website, “The Players’ Tribune,” which Jeter deems to be a conduit to unfiltered access to athletes, “a place where athletes have the tools they need to share what they really think and feel,” Jeter writes in an introduction to the new site. Wilson is listed as a “Senior Editor” for the site.

Whether or not Wilson’s essay provides the template for upcoming pieces from other athletes, it appears Jeter’s new site is off to at least a compelling start, even if Wilson utilized his piece to promote his very-worthwhile foundation, although at the same time tackling a controversial topic. So there’s a balance there, at least, even if in essence it is a self-serving press release of sorts.