Russell Wilson: Seahawks wouldn’t have played this week if there was a game
The shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man who was shot seven times in the back by police officers during an arrest in Wisconsin, has sparked protests among professional athletes this week, with teams in the NBA, NHL, WNBA, MLB and MLS all opting not to play their scheduled games in order to protest systemic racism in the U.S. In Seattle, the Mariners protested by not playing the Padres on Wednesday and according to the biggest star on the Seahawks, the team wouldn’t have played either if there had been a game scheduled this week.
Quarterback Russell Wilson joined 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant Friday morning and used the majority of the conversation to share his beliefs regarding ongoing protests and how athletes can be involved. As previously noted, Wilson believes the Seahawks would have chosen not to play if the team had a game this weekend.
“Yeah, for sure. I think just witnessing what happened to Jacob and everything else and all the things that have added up to this, it’s devastating, truly devastating just to watch that,” Wilson said. “And it’s not like this hasn’t been going on for years. That’s the scary part and sad part. The difference now is we get to see it every day because of social media and phones and everything else.”
Many athletes have been using their platforms to bring attention to racial inequalities and violence against people of color in the U.S. and to try and drive systemic change across the nation. At times, those calls for action have fallen on deaf ears.
“I think what’s really disappointing is just knowing that we, as athletes, try to (make) a difference and sometimes people don’t want to listen and don’t want to recognize that that could have been us and that could be us,” Wilson said.
Many NFL teams decided to cancel practice on Thursday to join other professional teams across multiple sports who were choosing not to play. The Seahawks had Thursday off from practice as they’d played a mock game on Wednesday, so Wilson said the team is trying to decide what the next step is as a collective group.
“I think for us, as a team, as the Seahawks, we’re definitely discussing what to we do next, how do we make a change, how do we cause movement and how do we make a difference and we’re in the midst of all that right now,” he said. “We don’t have weeks and we don’t have months and years to change it, we’ve got to all do it together and we’ve got to do it now and we need change now and we need people to make a difference now.”
Wilson said that he would like to see society come together rather than be driven apart by these conversations, and that “it ultimately starts with love” and with people, regardless of their race, gender, identity or their socioeconomic background to step up.
Like many other Black people in the U.S., Wilson said he had conversations with his father about how to act in certain situations, including what to do if he was pulled over, as well as where he should and shouldn’t be in different times of the day and that he needed to behave in certain ways. Now a father of three, Wilson says he’s going to need to be on the giving end of those discussions.
“My awareness level was always heightened and I never understood why when I was really young,” he said. “But as I got into my teenage years and older and now I have to get prepared and tell my kids the same thing because it does matter.”
Listen to the full interview with Danny and Gallant at this link or in the player below.