Warrick Dunn opens up about the lingering effects of his mother’s murder

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In 1993, two days after Warrick Dunn’s 18th birthday, his mother, an off-duty police officer, was murdered while trying to stop an armed robbery. Dunn, who played 12 years in the NFL for the Buccaneers and Falcons, is now 44 years old and admits he still grapples with the fallout of losing his mom.

Dunn told Dan Le Batard on ESPN that he’d done a lot of good inspired by his mother, by starting Warrick Dunn Charities, which has helped more than 100 single parents buy homes for their families — something Dunn’s own single mother was saving to do when she died.

“This is what my mom would have wanted. She would have wanted this experience,” Dunn said.

But Dunn said that while he was proud of the work he was doing both on and off the field, he wasn’t enjoying his life. And it was only long after his mother died, when he began to seek therapy, that he started finding joy in life again.

“I never talked. I never smiled,” he said. “I just happened to move to Atlanta, hear a teammate talk about another guy going to counseling. . . . I thought, ‘Maybe I need to do that for myself.'”

Dunn described counseling as difficult at first, but ultimately putting him in a position where he could visit one of the men convicted of killing his mother to offer forgiveness.

“I started talking, and the first nine months I never looked my counselor in the eye,” Dunn said. “But once I got comfortable and was able to express myself, I was able to look her in the eye, have conversations with her, and over the years I got to the point where I was putting the pieces of my life back together and I got to the point where I wanted to go and sit with the guy who shot and killed my mom. I wanted to talk to him because I wanted to take that power back and create more peace in my life.”

Dunn visited Kevan Brumfield, who was convicted of the murder, on Louisiana’s death row. Although Dunn was hoping Brumfield would show remorse, that didn’t happen. Dunn forgave him anyway.

“He actually said, ‘It wasn’t me.’ I said, ‘I don’t care who it is, I just want to come here and say I forgive you. You’ve taken so much of my life away from me that I want back,'” Dunn said. “After that I just felt like I took my life back.”

Dunn has helped many people with his charity, and he may help more by spreading the message that therapy can help.

21 responses to “Warrick Dunn opens up about the lingering effects of his mother’s murder

  1. God bless you, man. Your courage is incredible. I don’t think I could forgive the murderer. But I can definitely see why you did it. All your kind works for charity have helped so many people. Thank you.

  2. Warrick Dunn, is an inspiration. Too many men, go about there lives trying to figure all of it out on their own. It is impossible to figure events out that make no sense, like the murder of your mom. What a great story and great man. Thank you.

  3. Wow, pretty deep stuff going on there. Good for Dunn. I always liked him going back to his Tampa days.

  4. “I would kill anyone who murdered my mother. No forgiveness, just brutal death.”

    Then you’ll be the one spending your life in prison, not them. There’s a reason why they say to dig two graves when you set on revenge.

  5. I always think of him as never smiling. Granted, I didn’t follow him as close as my team but this article shows why he didn’t smile much. I’m so glad he is improving his mood and improving the lives of those that just need a helping hand to get going in life.

    He’s the type of player that I never could dislike. I read a story when he was just starting in the league that talked about his Mother and how she was murdered. Peace to you, Warrick Dunn.

  6. Why in the world am I seeing so many ‘thumbs down’ being clicked in these comments? What is wrong with people today that we have to knock a story about a courageous man who opened up about his pain and what he did to take his life back?

    Warrick Dunn was one of my favorite players to root for when I was younger. As a fan of the Bucs I really wish that Dunn was still on the team when Tampa won the Super Bowl.

    In any event, Dunn has always been a class act and awesome role model. Happy to see that he’s finding peace in his life.

  7. One of the most underrated good guys in sports. And him and Alstott were such a fun backfield to watch

  8. Sad story.

    Amazing that he can forgive the person who murdered his mother.

    Sounds like he had to for his own health.

    I’m sure she is smiling down on his work today.

  9. Forgiveness doesn’t necessarily mean that you pardon the killer. It means letting go of resentment that can destroy you if you let it linger.

  10. This and the Joe Delaney story are inspirational and put life in perspective. Two heroic men. These stories are important. Thanks to PFT for sharing.

  11. The toughest battles to overcome are the ones within ourselves. Dunn is brave for facing his then for talking about them.

  12. cant help but wonder why all the negativity on the board towards Warrick Dunn?
    I havent ever heard one person say a bad thing about him. what gives folks?

  13. Not understanding all the downvotes in some of the comments. Mental health is so important yet all these wannabe tough guys downvote the positive comments. Talking with a therapist can be the best thing you could do for yourself.

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