While speaking with reporters on Wednesday, Seattle Seahawks’ quarterback Russell Wilson opted not to talk about football, saying “none of that matters … life and what the black community is going through right now.”

Wilson took his opportunity in front of the media to talk about his experiences with racism as a black man in the United States. “When you think about the idea of Black Lives Matter, they do matter,” he said. “The reality is that, me as a black person, people are getting murdered on the street, people are getting shot down, and the understanding that it’s not like that for every other race. It’s like that in particular for the black community. I think about my stepson, I think about my daughter, I think about our new baby boy on the way, and it’s staggering to watch these things happen right in front of our faces, so I have a heavy heart right now.”

Wilson shared one story about how in 2014, after winning the Super Bowl, an older white man was in line with Wilson at breakfast when the man said, “That’s not for you.” Wilson described the experience as, “And I said, ‘Huh? Excuse me?’ I thought he was joking at first. My back was kind of turned. I had just come off a Super Bowl and everything else, so if somebody is talking to me that way, you think about [a different] circumstance and how people talk to you. In that moment, I really went back to being young and not putting my hands in my pocket and that experience. That was a heavy moment for me right there. I was like, man, this is really still real, and I’m on the West Coast. This is really real right now. That really pained my heart. But in the midst of that, what I understood was – and [what] my dad always taught me was – to not lash back out in that moment because then it becomes something that’s hard to deal with. So I said, ‘Excuse me, sir, but I don’t appreciate you speaking to me that way.’ He just kind of walked off. But in that little glimpse, even though it didn’t turn into something, what if it did? That’s the sad part about this, what we’re talking about.”

Wilson says that as he has gotten older and having children has really showed him what it means to be a black person in America and the significance of that.


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