Russell Wilson didn’t want to talk football — he has more on his mind
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson did not want to talk about football.
Not with everything he has on his mind while widespread protests throughout the country continue daily following the release of a video showing George Floyd, a black man, being killed in Minneapolis last week due to an officer of the law, Derek Chauvin, using his knee to put pressure on the back of Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes.
In a video call with Seattle reporters on Wednesday afternoon, a visibly affected Wilson was choked up multiple times as he spoke of having a heavy heart. He revealed how he feels from the perspective of a descendant of slaves. He told a story about how when he reached driving age, his father told him to never put his hands in his pockets at a gas station. He spoke about wanting a better world for his stepson, daughter, and son on the way.
This was a different Russell Wilson. There was no customary “Go Hawks” when he was done after over a half-hour of speaking. Before taking questions, he made it clear by stating multiple times that football wasn’t on his mind and wasn’t why he was there to talk. And when he spoke, he made some his strongest public statements to date about race, social issues and politics.
“I am hopeful that we can make a change. I hopeful that we’re going to vote. I’m hopeful that we’re going to pick the right leaders to be able to help us in this process,” he said near the end of the call.
And it was clear what change he was speaking about.
“To me, the sad part about all of this is that – a guy was murdered last week. A guy was murdered last week. And there needs to be a change. There needs to be a change. It’s not overly complicated,” Wilson said.
He voiced support for the ongoing protests, saying the “people that are being brutally beaten for just simply protesting” are among the many he’s praying for right now.
“What’s happening with some of this police brutality is staggering, and honestly that’s not something I understand fully. It’s pretty emotional to watch some of the videos. And I think about even Seattle, my home, some of the things that are happening there. It’s pretty heavy.”
He’s also praying for his kids, so that they “don’t have to grow up in a world where they have to face that much weight every day when they walk outside, and worry and pain.”
And he was honest about what he sees now and has seen throughout his life as a black American.
“I think for years, America’s been pushing stuff under the rug,” Wilson said, “… having to deal with some of these tough situations and problems. My prayer is that we’ll pick the right leaders, the right people will be able to help, and hopefully I’m one of those people that can help too as well, make a difference and be a part of the change.
“… I don’t have all the answers… but the answer that I do know is that it’s important that we understand that, me being an African American, being black is a real thing in America. It’s a real thing in the sense of the history and the pain.”
It was a revealing moment from Russell Wilson, shining a light on a part of his life that he hasn’t spoken much of in the past. It’s worth your time to watch the video to get the full scope of his comments and emotions.