Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright: ‘Life is way bigger than scoring touchdowns’

Jun 8, 2020, 2:04 PM
Seahawks, K.J. Wright...
K.J. Wright #50 of the Seattle Seahawks removes his jersey to swap after the game against the Los Angeles Rams at CenturyLink Field on October 3, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright shared on social media that it’s his life mission to fix a problem when he sees one. This weekend, Wright attended the protest at Othello Park in Seattle and said he plans to continue using his platform to speak out and help make a change.

He joined KIRO Radio’s Gee & Ursula Show to talk about why being at the protest was important to him.

“I want to be a part of the change,” he said. “I wanted to keep raising awareness of what we’re protesting for and trying to get done as a community, and as a country. And I just wanted to be part of it, do my part in making this country a better place.”

Wright said he’s had some tough conversations lately, but they’ve largely been positive and productive.

“I talked to tons of people, talked to my black friends, my white friends, and it was really cool to just see how they view this whole thing,” he said. “And I shared my thoughts, and my beliefs, and I shared with them what I would like for them to do, and support the black community.”

Wright encourages everyone to keep having these important conversations, but says don’t point fingers.

“We all want this country to be better,” he said. “And it’s a beautiful thing. We can talk it out. Everybody get on the same page, and we go from there.”

The Othello Park protest, Wright said, was focused on stopping community crime and holding each other accountable, as well as addressing police brutality.

“It was a combination of that, and it was speaking love, speaking [about] policing our selves, community, we got to do a better job at holding each other accountable.”

Moving forward, Wright plans to keep pushing for much-needed change.

“Right now, step one is what I did over this past weekend, and that’ll continue,” he said. “But the step two and step three are things we’ve got to figure out.”

He has a meeting with a local legislator this Friday, but said he’ll first be educating himself on the laws and the polices that are put in place.

“And is it beneficial to people of color? And how can we fix this?” he asked.

Next, Wright says we have to examine the educational system and work to fix any issues. What’s being taught in schools, are the books up to date, do the students have an opportunity to attend events in the community and network with businesses? These are questions Wright hopes to answer.

There’s more to life than touchdowns and Super Bowls

Wright said the Seahawks as a team have taken time to talk about what’s happening in the United States, and the reaction from his teammates and coaches has been really positive.

“They get it. They understand it,” he said. “And I had a few of them reach out to me, ‘K.J, what can I do? What can I learn?’ And a teammate and myself [will] actually sit down this weekend. I’m going to teach him, you know, what I know and what he can take back to his community.”

Wright said one of his coaches was also at the protest this past weekend.

“He’s just putting his action where his words were,” Wright said about his coach.

Wright also commended Coach Pete Carroll on his actions and how he’s communicated with the team over the past few days.

“Coach Carroll is doing a tremendous job and, you know, laying it out for us,” Wright said.

“Life is way bigger than scoring touchdowns and winning Super Bowls,” he added. “[Coach Carroll], he gets it. He’s well-balanced as a man, as a coach, and he just gives the players what we need at this time and moment.”

The Seahawks took two days off from football, Wright said, one day to talk about what was going on and one day completely off. Carroll encouraged the players to tune in, pay attention to what’s going on, and watch the news on their day off.

“I just can’t thank him enough for doing this because every coach in the NFL isn’t like him,” Wright said. “You know, some guys are just all ball, 24/7. But [Carroll] realizes it’s bigger than just Seahawks football. At the end of the day, we are humans, and we’ve got to live the life that we live in.”

Seahawks’ Russell Wilson didn’t want to talk football — he has more on his mind

While Wright said there hasn’t been discussion yet of kneeling during the anthem at games this fall or any action similar to what Colin Kaepernick did previously, he does expects NFL players will exercise their rights and speak out.

“I do believe that when it happens this go around, people will understand what Kaepernick was trying to express,” Wright said. “Kaepernick, during that time, he got a lot of backlash and people didn’t quite understand what he was protesting. But I believe this go around, people will understand.”

“And I believe that also, this go around, people have to get steps two and three done,” he added. “We’ve got to get out there in the community. You actually got to get stuff figured out because people are aware of the problem, now let’s fix the problem.”

Listen to the Gee and Ursula Show weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright: ‘Life is way bigger than scoring touchdowns’