Russell Wilson is considered by many to be one of the most stand-up guys in sports.
The Seahawks quarterback visits kids in the hospital (as do many of his fellow players), helps at football camps, sets a good example for others, and practiced sexual abstinence before marrying singer Ciara.
At a news conference following practice Tuesday, Wilson was asked about the Colin Kaepernick 'sit-in' during the National Anthem in protest of the oppression of “black people and people of color.”
Here's what Wilson said:
“First of all, there’s no perfect answer. I understand and respect the cause because there’s so much going on in America right now — so much hurt, so much pain. And ultimately I understand what he’s doing."
But he went on to say that for him, standing with your hand over your heart is not a statement about what's wrong with the country, but an affirmation of what's right with it.
He said he has high regard for those who keep this country safe:
“For me, I love the flag. I love the National Anthem because it’s an emotional time for me because I’m so grateful I get to play on the football field. And every time I get to put my hand on my heart, it’s truly an honor — you know, the military, for me I think about my family members who have served, and friends — I train down in San Diego all the time, so I’m around the Navy and I see those guys around. And all they do for our country and the people in Afghanistan and all these people fighting. 9/11, for example, coming up — that’s going to be our first game and I think about all the pain from that. So that’s why I stand and put my hand on my heart.”
Check out this photo of Wilson standing and putting his hand over his heart a month ago, before the whole Kaepernick issue blew up:
In the press conference, the quarterback continued:
"I do think there’s always issues in our country. I think ultimately it comes back to love. Like I said to you guys before, it comes back to loving one another and appreciating one another. Understanding that we’re not perfect but we need to be equal. And that’s from the black community, from the white community, that’s from police officers to everybody to all of our military to everybody that we get to recognize and see — have great appreciation for what this country is based on — and what it should be based on.
It should be based on equality. It should be based on people having freedom of speech — people can have that decision. And so, I understand what (Kaepernick’s) doing. But at the same time for me, I can also think about where we need to go and where our thoughts need to be. It needs to be about love, about caring about one another. And that’s for every community, every situation, every socio-economic status."
Finally, Wilson said that we need to look ahead, and "if we focus on that, maybe something can change — and I think that’s important.”