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Russell Wilson says he was a “kind of a bad kid” until he found religion

Wilson AP

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has become one of the great success stories of the NFL.

In a new 14-minute video entitled The Making of a Champion:  Seattle Seahawks, Wilson explains that things could have gone in a very different direction for him.

Via CBS Seattle, Wilson says he was a “kind of a bad kid” at one point.

“I used to beat up kids and bite kids and do stuff all the time,” Wilson said.

He changed when, as he explains it, Jesus came to him in a dream.

“I had a dream that my dad passed away and that Jesus came into the room and he was basically knocking on my door, saying, ‘Hey, you need to find out more about me,’” Wilson said.  “So that Sunday morning I ended up going to church and that’s when I got saved.”

The video, produced by Seahawks players and coaches with high production values and editing and Rinaldi-esque music, features other members of the organization talking in general terms at first but ultimately about their Christian religious beliefs and values.

It culminates in a suggested prayer from long snapper Clint Gresham.

The not-so-subtle message from The Making of a Champion: Seattle Seahawks is that Christian believers always thrive, and that the Seahawks are a team of Christian believers.  While we respect everyone’s right to believe whatever they choose to believe (and I’m a lifelong Roman Catholic), there’s a line that easily can be crossed when employment and religion become intertwined.

Non-Christians ultimately may not feel welcome if the team is perceived as promoting Christianity.  If, for example, a Christian were working for an organization that overtly promoted a different religion, the Christian would eventually feel uncomfortable, and potentially unwanted.

So while we (or at least I) don’t disagree with the video’s overriding message, we’re not sure it’s the right message to be expressed by an NFL team that, under state and federal law, should be accepting of all religions — and of those who choose to believe in no religion.

Watch the video and draw your own conclusions about whether the Seahawks are pushing a specific religious agenda in a way that could make those on the team who disagree with that agenda a little uncomfortable.

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71 Responses to “Russell Wilson says he was a “kind of a bad kid” until he found religion”
  1. truthfactory says: Oct 17, 2013 8:20 PM

    Give me a break, we have a freedom of religion in this country.

  2. h3min1230 says: Oct 17, 2013 8:23 PM

    “…used to bite kids”

    i lold.

  3. dmnirican says: Oct 17, 2013 8:26 PM

    The Making of a “Champion” of what, exactly?

    They haven’t won anything yet to call themselves “champions” unless you count their division maybe.

    But they haven’t even won that in like 3 years…

  4. marvsleezy says: Oct 17, 2013 8:27 PM

    Just to be clear, who is this video produced by? A Christian church, or is this a Seahawks production? That’s a big deal to me…

  5. hehateme2 says: Oct 17, 2013 8:29 PM

    A game manager. Pretty poor number so far this season
    #overrated

  6. 700levelvet says: Oct 17, 2013 8:31 PM

    14 minutes I’ll never get back… I’ll pass

  7. puckthefatriots says: Oct 17, 2013 8:32 PM

    I have a bigger problem with all of the PED users on that team.

  8. joe2jerry says: Oct 17, 2013 8:32 PM

    A basic tenet of the Christian faith is that you tell people about Jesus. I have great admiration (as a Niner fan) for Wilson to state his beliefs in a world that the media (and those claiming to be a believer) want to shut the freedom of speech down. He and his workplace have every right to say what they want. No one is forcing you to believe anything.

  9. shibbyleigh says: Oct 17, 2013 8:32 PM

    Making of a champion? When did they win a championship?

    Also, religion. LOL.

  10. timb12 says: Oct 17, 2013 8:33 PM

    Is that the message? That Christian athletes always strive? I really feel like this is grasping at straws. There are Christians on every team. There are people who aren’t on every team. In an organization like the NFL, I think it’s pretty obvious that they want the best players on the field. They don’t care about anything as long as you can play and don’t bring too much of a distraction.

  11. 1zzo says: Oct 17, 2013 8:34 PM

    In your own words, it was “produced by Seahawks players and coaches” – not the Seattle Seahawks organization, but by individuals who so happen to be members of that organization. They can do what they want with their own money and time. Nothing to see here folks.

  12. skinsfan91 says: Oct 17, 2013 8:34 PM

    How old was he when he was biting kids?

  13. rroberti98 says: Oct 17, 2013 8:35 PM

    They are trying to win over the nfl. Get em ino the super bowl. Its marketing hope it doesnt work but the nfl is all about sales. Makes one sick but the game isnt played on an even field. If you watch their game its all about holding and over aggressive play
    . You think god would condone them?

  14. Nickstixx says: Oct 17, 2013 8:36 PM

    It’s a simple video. It’s not something current or incoming players have to agree with. Don’t blow it out of proportion. The NFL shows players praying on the field all the time during injuries or what not. I think that someone would feel fortunate to be playing in the NFL and wouldn’t really care what other coworkers believe. I know I don’t at my job.

  15. whosyourdaddy2013 says: Oct 17, 2013 8:37 PM

    Just a little premature to make a movie called “the making of a champion” don’t ya think? More like the making of an arrogant locker room that needs to actually win something before I’m impressed. Overrated.

  16. f1restarter says: Oct 17, 2013 8:38 PM

    “The not-so-subtle message from The Making of a Champion: Seattle Seahawks is that Christian believers always thrive”
    ——————————
    I wonder how Tim Tebow would feel about that statement.

  17. 49erstim says: Oct 17, 2013 8:39 PM

    This makes me respect Wilson more, not less.

  18. whosyourdaddy2013 says: Oct 17, 2013 8:39 PM

    Also funny that there are soooo many christians on their team yet they constantly get busted for adderral and other PEDS. Must just be a misunderstanding though right…

  19. sg419 says: Oct 17, 2013 8:40 PM

    And here we have the beginning of the name change in New Orleans. Can’t make people “uncomfortable” who don’t believe in Saints. After the Redskins is changed the PC police will come for the Saints. Always need a cause and there is always someone who is offended. If one person is offended the NFL commissioner will listen.

  20. bartpkelly says: Oct 17, 2013 8:42 PM

    LOL, @hehateme2.

    A game manager is one who supposedly can’t put the team on his back for a win. Wilson has done that this year, Houston for example.

    Anyway, you make it sound like game manager is a bad thing. Every quarterback is supposed to manage the game.

  21. rb619 says: Oct 17, 2013 8:44 PM

    “The not-so-subtle message from The Making of a Champion: Seattle Seahawks is that Christian believers always thrive, and that the Seahawks are a team of Christian believers.”

    Disagree with your interpretation here.

    This was not officially endorsed by the Seattle Seahawks.

    As a previous poster commented, the people in this film just happen to work for the Seahawks organization.

    It is a stretch to perceive that one message of this film is that Christian believers always thrive.

  22. 1zzo says: Oct 17, 2013 8:44 PM

    He didn’t find “religion.” He found “Jesus.” Believe it or not, there is a huge difference.

  23. beastmode5150 says: Oct 17, 2013 8:44 PM

    He said “darn” a lot.

  24. chrismgillis says: Oct 17, 2013 8:45 PM

    Freedom of religion? Really? How about Rastafarian? Nope, illegal in this country. Really look into your country and see the “Freedom” we have.

  25. cowboysfaninpatriotsland says: Oct 17, 2013 8:45 PM

    Finally a team where Tebow can really be at home and be the leader he’s meant to be. Team Chaplin!

  26. mancave001 says: Oct 17, 2013 8:46 PM

    State and Federal law? They are a privately owned team. They could have an official team religion and it still wouldn’t be illegal. How can a lawyer be so misinformed on the 1st Amend?

  27. beastmode5150 says: Oct 17, 2013 8:47 PM

    Some of you need to leave moms basement and grow up.

  28. truthfactory says: Oct 17, 2013 8:49 PM

    It’s crazy that a basic message of religion and Christ are frowned upon, but Miley Cyrus and Kim K’s asses all over our TV’s and are completely ok because they are “expressing their sexuality”.

  29. 1mommicked1 says: Oct 17, 2013 8:57 PM

    i thought i liked russell wilson. now i like him even more! how come every group can be out of their closet except Christians. fun fact: there is only one person in the Bible who is called a champion. and he (goliath) is slain by a little guy. Go russell!

  30. snitor says: Oct 17, 2013 9:00 PM

    I disagree with you in this one. I’m an atheist and the things you mentioned on the article don’t offend me at all. I will not watch a 14 minute video about that, but if they are talking about their experience in a religious life and how they think that had a positive influence in their careers, I don’t see how anyone would feel offended.

  31. emperor72 says: Oct 17, 2013 9:01 PM

    Personally, I’m not very fond of people preaching for their respective God/supreme being/deity. Especially when it becomes a competition about which one is the best. It’s akin to saying that your imaginary friend is better than all others. Beliefs (or lack thereof) aren’t what make a person good or bad. Their actions do.

  32. nrae73 says: Oct 17, 2013 9:05 PM

    Pretty presumptuous to declare oneself “saved”….and Jesus came to me and told me he made Carrol call that timeout in ATL, btw

  33. usdcoyotesfan says: Oct 17, 2013 9:06 PM

    Religion didn’t do Golden Tate any good. In his interview after the Packers game, he praised god then said “I don’t know what you’re talking about” when they asked if he pushed off.

  34. tennis22drew says: Oct 17, 2013 9:06 PM

    Roman Catholics find religion, Christians find Jesus

  35. yaryers says: Oct 17, 2013 9:14 PM

    I think they’re trying to imply that they are “Champions,” because they’ve let Jesus into their lives.

    I guess that’s why my trophy case is empty.

  36. mskellydent says: Oct 17, 2013 9:23 PM

    Well, he and his teammates have the right to express their religious opinions, and even to disseminate those opinions. It’s not the most in-your-face dissemination we’ve witnessed in the NFL.

  37. pkrlvr says: Oct 17, 2013 9:29 PM

    Jesus loves him some football!

  38. jzone954 says: Oct 17, 2013 9:30 PM

    Who cares if he is getting bashed for loving and professing Christ….I doubt he does….
    Keep sharing your testimony and professing christ Mr Wilson

  39. f1restarter says: Oct 17, 2013 9:31 PM

    1zzo says:
    Oct 17, 2013 8:44 PM
    He didn’t find “religion.” He found “Jesus.” Believe it or not, there is a huge difference.
    —————-
    Semantics.

    Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, Shiva, or Satan. It doesn’t make any difference at all.

    It’s all about whatever gets you through the day, and whatever helps you get over your fear of death.

  40. usdcoyotesfan says: Oct 17, 2013 9:33 PM

    Religion didn’t do Golden Tate any good. In his interview after the Packers game, he praised god then said “I don’t know what you’re talking about” when they asked if he pushed off.

  41. scmems07 says: Oct 17, 2013 9:37 PM

    “A game manager is one who supposedly can’t put the team on his back for a win. Wilson has done that this year, Houston for example.

    Anyway, you make it sound like game manager is a bad thing. Every quarterback is supposed to manage the game.”

    The Houston game! This fan just proves Seattle fans are clueless lol

    And the second comment is probably coming from the same person who made fun of Alex Smith when he was with the niners. Now that it is looking more like Wilson is a game manager, let the defense and run game control the game, just don’t turn the ball over, Seattle fans now think it’s ok to be a game manager like smith. Lol

  42. anonymous135 says: Oct 17, 2013 9:45 PM

    Not that anyone would ever use religion as a ploy or crutch before, but this maybe a promotional tool to attract like minded Free Agent players big into faith and religion, which many are.

    Tim Tebow need not apply

  43. everyoneholdsorakpo says: Oct 17, 2013 9:49 PM

    “Seahawks are pushing a specific religious agenda in a way that could make those on the team who disagree with that agenda a little uncomfortable.”

    It’s really not the agenda that makes “those” uncomfortable….it is the thought that maybe they could be right.
    Keep trying to shut Christian people up….you join a group that started, and has failed for thousands of years. What makes you the protector of mankind from these “harmful” Christians. Better wake up……they could indeed be right.

  44. FlyFromTheInside says: Oct 17, 2013 9:53 PM

    Tebow jr

  45. thestrategyexpert says: Oct 17, 2013 9:57 PM

    Well they are winning and Russell Wilson is the man. Can’t really get in the mood to complain about them right now. I mentioned earlier today that teams are being run so bad that I don’t like how any of them do things, but SEA deserves an honorable mention right now and they can have a little freedom to try and share a message. It may not be a great idea to aggressively promote a religion within their message, but at least it’s not downright negative like some of the other teams’ really awful messages with what they say and do.

    I personally feel it’s better for the football mind to distance oneself from religion the way some of these other players look at it. I think it’s a bad sign when players start giving credit to God for the plays that they made. I guess if Tebow were to give a speech at a podium right now, what would he say? “I’d like to not thank God for not giving me the strength to be a good QB. I had the skills and the heart and the body and the athleticism and the leadership skills and everything else, yet it still wasn’t enough with whatever help God was adding to the mix. I guess he just has it out for me or isn’t a Patriots or Broncos fan”.

    He could say that, and he might be saying that now, but it’s not going to get him any closer to the football field analyzing that question. And other players lose focus and attention from things they could be working on or developing when religion clouds the picture with an incorrect outlook as to the true nature of issues or the right solution to address them.

    But that being said, if the guy who owns the team is religious and wants to combine a football message with a religious message, well that’s his choice to transform this team into representing whatever he wants to represent, and it seems like he has a foundation for a vision already set in place.

    Or perhaps he thinks it’s just a profitable thing to do to create business leverage off of religion. If the Seahawks can be the team for all believers of God to congregate under, well that sounds to me like potential for a nice market share. If you don’t believe me, count the number of churches that exist in this country and the number itself will blow you away into seeing the angle.

    All of those people could be Seattle Shepherds in the future. There’s no money in the seahawk industry! I’ve never even seen a seahawk in my life, but I sure have seen a few churches around, each one housing a boatload of people that presumably all carry wallets!

  46. kaperchoke says: Oct 17, 2013 9:58 PM

    Personally, I’m not very fond of people preaching for their respective God/supreme being/deity. Especially when it becomes a competition about which one is the best. It’s akin to saying that your imaginary friend is better than all others. Beliefs (or lack thereof) aren’t what make a person good or bad. Their actions do.
    ————————————————————-

    He believe in his god and the good that came in his faith, he just happens to be a Christian.

    Does it matter what religion?

  47. vonridel says: Oct 17, 2013 10:19 PM

    No one seems to mind when some anti-religious bigot stomps all over people of faith, but Lord help someone who has the nerve to express their faith.

    The constitution says we have freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion. That requires nonbelievers and people of other faiths to be tolerant of people who have religion and wish to express themselves.

    The far left socialist atheists have twisted the meaning in order to stamp out religion. Why? Because religion is not compatible with socialism. Why? Because religion preaches personal responsibility while socialism requires group responsibility. Ask Hillary Clinton – “It takes a village” and Obama – “social justice”.

  48. pilot2011 says: Oct 17, 2013 10:26 PM

    MakingofaChampion.org doesn’t sound or look anything like Seahawks.com

    these players did this by their own choice. If this video offends people, my question simply is, WHY?

    how can a harmless video like this even big to anger anyone enough to make it an issue at all?

    well done Hawks players, yall have some quality people in your organization.

    go panthers

  49. bigbenh8tr says: Oct 17, 2013 10:45 PM

    Went to highscool w russell and this is all true. Granted im older he was always a whiner in middle school but always as talented as guys years older.

    Many Christians have thick skin and have no shame talking and and letting others know they aren’t embarrassed to talk about something many are critical of. I had great success in hs sports as well and owe a lot of my confidence to my faith and trusting that god would take care of me as long as I stayed true to him and myself every single day and gave it my all every single day.  I often find people who criticize Christians are simply tpp immature to understand ones faith and what it means to believe in a higher power than yourself. 

    I dont care what religion you believe in, I think faith is the point of the video and I feel sorry for you if tout can be critical of someone who takes pride in their faith which usually is accompanied by very high character, morals, and work ethic.

  50. dremmel69 says: Oct 17, 2013 10:58 PM

    I don’t understand. Why is the expression of Christian beliefs by two or more in one organization grounds for the expectation of intolerance toward other religious beliefs?

    Any group of individuals is bound to include those of different religious faiths or those who do not subscribe to any religion at all.

    Is it not intolerant to ask those to of particular religious group to”tone down” the manner in which their religious beliefs are expressed?

  51. cover2blitz0 says: Oct 17, 2013 11:49 PM

    Good for Wilson and the seahawks it’s a shame it makes news when someone mentions God or Christianity in this day and age

  52. irishdodger says: Oct 17, 2013 11:53 PM

    @1zzo:

    Well said

  53. fryeways says: Oct 18, 2013 12:13 AM

    You guys arguing the freedom of religion point have it backward. Freedom of religion is exactly why a corporation should not align itself with a particular faith, because that potentially denies people of other faiths the same opportunities and experiences within that organization.

    Read more about the history of the United States at your local library.

  54. fancyleague says: Oct 18, 2013 1:33 AM

    It’s about time somebody found religion because it was pretty freaking lost for a while there.

  55. leocrow says: Oct 18, 2013 1:36 AM

    “State and Federal law? They are a privately owned team. They could have an official team religion and it still wouldn’t be illegal. How can a lawyer be so misinformed on the 1st Amend?”
    ____________

    Believe it or not, the U.S. has other laws besides the Constitution. No, the 1st amendment doesn’t apply. Yes, religious discrimination by private employers is illegal.

  56. revskip says: Oct 18, 2013 1:46 AM

    I’m fine with it but am really looking forward to the day when a player scores a touchdown and praises Satan afterwards. I’ll bet the freedom of religion people will hold a slightly different position then.

  57. joetoronto says: Oct 18, 2013 3:50 AM

    The team from Alaska is so desperate, after not winning a damn thing, ever, that they call themselves “champions.”

    Pathetic, SMH.

  58. Iain says: Oct 18, 2013 4:16 AM

    Some enterprising team needs to spoof this nonsense with a video explaining how they owe their success to Star Wars.

  59. trevor123698 says: Oct 18, 2013 4:29 AM

    “Religion is morality” -George Washington

  60. edrooneyjr says: Oct 18, 2013 6:24 AM

    Isn’t the bigger point that they aren’t champions?

  61. keltictim says: Oct 18, 2013 7:40 AM

    If you don’t agree with Christianity here’s a tip, don’t watch it. Problem solved.

  62. exboomer says: Oct 18, 2013 7:58 AM

    “I had a dream that my dad passed away and that Jesus came into the room and he was basically knocking on my door, saying, ‘Hey, you need to find out more about me,’” Wilson said.

    A perfect example of Revelation 3:20 “Behold I stand at the door and knock, if anyone opens I will come unto him and sup with him and he with me.”

  63. canuckdjs says: Oct 18, 2013 9:31 AM

    “The Making of a Team Wanting To Be a Champion: The Seattle Seahawks”

    Atheist here (waiting for lightning…) – I do find it funny how Christians complain about being marginalized, when the NFL especially has been a platform for Christianity for decades now. I remember when most athletes would thank Mom first when on camera – but now, it’s the man upstairs, almost all the time. Prayer circles at midfield with both teams – surrounded by TV cameras… Productions like the video above… Christianity is pervasive on every broadcast – and yet, I am not bothered by it because we all have the right to believe.

    I am more bothered by Christians claiming they are somehow being persecuted, when in reality they have a bigger and bigger pulpit every Thursday and Sunday on the NFL Network. Relax people, the video is not awkward, Christians continue to rule the airwaves, and nobody is worse off because of it.

    Go Texans! (I know… I know)

  64. rlydiard says: Oct 18, 2013 9:47 AM

    I love this! Too much we forget that America was founded under GOD! And that the “freedom of religion” was freedom from religious persecution (thus you can believe what you wish) and that no laws should be passed based on one denomination of religion. Yet with the constant political correctness of our society now we have forgot this and many other of those founding beliefs and constitutional rights set forth by the founding of this great nation.

  65. stodgman says: Oct 18, 2013 10:48 AM

    Good video done by sincere folks. I do not see how this should be an affront to anyone. This is not the official team religion . . . just some guys talking about what they believe and how that belief has changed their lives.

    Frankly, a follower of Christ whose life is not changed is not a follower of Christ.

  66. mackcarrington says: Oct 18, 2013 12:19 PM

    I can believe he used to be a bad kid. He has the eyes of a hustler… the smile of a used car salesman… The aura of an insurance salesman. These are all traits that make him a good quarterback.

  67. idpfantasyfootball says: Oct 18, 2013 8:56 PM

    “I blame the church more than any institution in America for the problems that we’re dealing with today, because there’s too much money running through the church. It has actually been proven that there’s more money that goes through the churches of America when you put all the denominations together yearly than the federal government itself. “
    — Reggie White

  68. ews12346 says: Oct 18, 2013 9:09 PM

    Before anyone else says something stupid like:

    “Isn’t the bigger point that they aren’t champions?”

    Watch the video first, PLEASE. The video isn’t about being a champion per se, but an everyday “champion” husband, friend, father, etc.

  69. TaylorJenee says: Jan 20, 2014 11:46 AM

    I don’t think they’re pushing anything-it sounds like they’re telling their own personal stories. And no one said that the whole team was made up of Christians.

    I don’t understand why faith is such a touchy subject. I have a belief system but I also respect those who have different beliefs. And, in fact, some of the most interesting conversations have been when I have talked with others about their beliefs and mine.

  70. 116boyz says: Feb 2, 2014 4:52 PM

    Christianity isn’t a religion, it’s a relationship with Jesus Christ.

    John 3:3 says, “You must be born-again to enter the kingdom of heaven”

    Being born of the spirit, which is asking Jesus to be your Lord & Savior & then living a lifestyle of worshipping Jesus.

    Jesus bless you!

  71. markkr1 says: Feb 2, 2014 10:57 PM

    There were a lot of posts on here about how unproven these guys are. I suppose the guys in the video have earned a little more credibility…. Although some will still try and figure out a way to discredit them. Anyway… Good job on the season Seahawks!

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