Bobby Wagner grew up in a household with two older sisters, and a mom, Phenia, who helped shape him into a man who would one day be nominated for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, so he learned at an early age that he had better value and appreciate the women in his life.
But more than that, the women in Wagner's family helped him gain a bigger appreciate for the role women have in all walks of life, and how too often they don't get the recognition and support they deserve, so a day before Thanksgiving, Seattle's defensive captain and All-Pro linebacker opened his weekly press conference giving thanks to women, and by challenging men to better appreciate women.
"In the spirit of being thankful and thinking about what you're grateful (for), and things of that nature, I wanted to use this opportunity to highlight the brilliance of women in sports, media, business, and medicine," he said. "I think it's important to take the time to acknowledge the contributions of women in this world and understand the role of men that we play in this world."
Throughout this season, Wagner has used the beginning of his press conferences to highlight important things to him, be it books he finds educational or businesses or nonprofit organizations he supports, but on Wednesday his topic was a bigger picture message and a challenge to men everywhere.
"I wanted to come up here and highlight women in different fields and things of that nature, but I feel like there's so many different things that they have done in the last few years and just in general to pinpoint something," he said. "It's been very inspirational. I think a lot of the times it doesn't get talked about in every field—doesn't matter what field it is. So I wanted to take the time to express my appreciation, my gratefulness, and speak to all of the men out there about the path women take to get to the same goal we get is different, so have some empathy and be mindful about how you support not only the women in your life, but the women in the world with the things that they want to get done in their life.
"I think it's important to look for ways to help with that. There are a lot of things that they do in this world that we don't talk about enough. There are a lot of ways that we can help, whether it's investing in a woman founder, whether it's understanding the obstacles they go through, whether it's in medicine or media. I wanted to say A, I am grateful, and B, I challenge men to have an open mind, have an open perspective, and do your part in whatever it looks like to help move that needle forward. I do feel like the role that women play now and in the future is extremely powerful and extremely important, so I'm open to conversation. I understand that I'm still learning a lot of things that I don't understand, but I want to understand. I challenge men to challenge themselves in that world. That's what I'm thankful."
Asked what helped shape these viewpoints, Wagner said it started with his mother, Phenia, who died when he was a freshman at Utah State.
"My mom was the biggest one, to be honest," he said. "Obviously, I have two older sisters, so they played a huge role in how I grew up and understanding what they go through on a day-to-day basis, and just how you treat women. My mom was always on me about how I treat the women in my life, and it wasn't just girls, but your aunts and your sisters and the respect that you need to have. I would say that there are a bunch of people whether it is in business—I was fortunate to meet Maya Moore who is with the Jordan Brand, so hearing her story was dope. There are so many other stories of women do some special things in this world and sometimes we don't acknowledge it. I had an opportunity and I thought it was a great time to be thankful. Everybody is looking for something to be thankful for, and I feel like it was the opportunity to steer it in the right direction."
The Seattle Seahawks teamed up with organizations from Task Force 12, Delta Air Lines, Starbucks, and Operation Gratitude to build care packages for local military veterans and their families. The event was one of several different activities planned by the Seahawks in honor of their Salute to Service game on November 21. Read more: https://shwks.com/3ff465