All season long, Bobby Wagner has used the beginning of his weekly press conferences to talk about a topic important to him.
Over the course of the past few months, the Seahawks' All-Pro linebacker has covered everything from appreciating “the brilliance of women," to recommending books that have inspired him, to encouraging people to take part in random acts of kindness during the holidays—and setting an example by donating meals and Halloween costumes—to the importance of teaching students more about financial literacy, to giving plugs to local businesses he wants to support.
And yet, for all the positive things Wagner has discussed this season, it was a throwaway comment about mayonnaise—notably his distain for it—that has garnered more attention than anything else he has done this season. Wagner isn't upset about that so much as he finds it amusing, but last week's mayonnaise debate, which featured Duane Brown strongly disagreeing with his teammate, calling it "an awful take by Bobby," also motivated him to have his press conference go viral again this week, but for a better reason.
"Last week was interesting," Wagner said. "I was talking about Hilltop (Coffee + Kitchen in Los Angeles), and then mentioned mayonnaise and that got blown way out of proportion… I've talked about a lot of stuff so far up here this year—financial literacy, on and on and on. I randomly mentioned mayonnaise, and that's what goes viral. I was thinking last night, and I was like, 'OK. Let's see if we can make something else turn into a big deal.'"
In reflecting on what he could bring up this week, Wagner remembered a trip he took to the Silicon Valley where he visited different companies and learned more about the business world, and venture capital in particular. Wagner said the trip "changed my life," so now he wants to share that experience with students who might not otherwise get exposure to that world. And on Wednesday, Wagner announced that this offseason he will take nine students—nine is his favorite number and what he wore on his jersey in college and why he chose 54 (5+4=9) in the NFL—on a trip to the Silicon Valley.
"Since y'all like helping stuff go viral or getting the message across, I would love to offer the opportunity for nine students, nine because it's my favorite number, an opportunity to come down with me at some point after this season to go kind of do a similar tour that I got to do," Wagner said. "It changed my life, so I'm going to offer that opportunity for nine individuals."
Wagner said there isn't a specific age range, but he's imagining it will mostly be high-school aged students. Those interested should tell Wagner why they want to go, via Twitter, by posting a message using the hashtag #TackleEverything.
"We'll see if we can blow that up," he said. "We're going to turn something funny into something positive and help kids. I like investing in people and providing people opportunities that don't typically get to have opportunities.
"Use the hashtag #TackleEverything and say why you're interested in the venture capital space and learning about business. They can tag me (@Bwagz), but they have to do the hashtag. I'm going to look at the hashtag."
Oh, and it's not a requirement that interested students share Wagner's views on mayonnaise.
"Just don't use it on the trip," he said.
Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner helped surprise a USO family to thank them for their service and present them with the Delta Community Captain award. In addition to the surprise visit, the family received tickets to an upcoming Seahawks game, a roundtrip flight with Delta Air Lines, and other swag.