Russell Wilson has dealt with his share of racism throughout his life. He talked about his experiences to reporters this week and mentioned an incident that happened after he led the Seattle Seahawks to a Super Bowl win in 2014. The NFL star quarterback was in line at a California restaurant, and a white man behind him said, "That's not for you."
Wilson responded, "Excuse me?" He thought the man was joking at first, but then said, "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." He went on to say, "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."
As Wilson talked to reporters, he revealed he experienced racism while growing up in Richmond, Virginia. "I talked about how my dad [was] telling me all the time, every time I got out at the gas station, 'Don't put your hands in your pockets.' And that was a real reality," Wilson stated. He said he had a better understanding of it when he got older. And now that Wilson is "31 and having two kids with a third one on the way, you really understand the significance of what that means."
Earlier this week, Wilson went to Instagram to share his reaction to the George Floyd protests going on across the country. He said racism has to be confronted and questioned President Donald Trump without mentioning his name.
"We cannot continue to ignore racism as though it has ended, or never happened," Wilson wrote. The continual violence inflicted upon blacks, and other people of color must stop. We need a change now. We need love. We need compassion. We need grace and forgiveness even in the midst of the pain. We need true leadership. We need justice. We need equality." Wilson also wrote watching the George Floyd video "broke my heart" but he's confident that "we can make a change."