staff, staff, January 31, 2015

Domestic violence impacts thousands of people across the country every day - so many that there often isn?t enough space in shelters to accommodate victims who need temporary refuge.

Major off-the-field controversies involving some of the sport?s more prominent players have put a spotlight on that subject during this football season. And one of the NFL?s biggest stars is leading an effort to address the problem.

Russell Wilson, a University of Wisconsin graduate and quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks team that?s playing in its second-straight Super Bowl tomorrow, started the Pass the Peace initiative through his Why Not You Foundation. The program aims to provide emotional and financial support for victims of domestic violence by encouraging people to donate at least $2 (emblematic of the two fingers held up for the peace sign) to The National Domestic Violence Hotline.

[btn-post-package]Wilson cited personal reasons for starting Pass the Peace. In a confessional piece on The Players? Tribune Web site, he wrote that - in contrast with his clean public image - he was something of a bully growing up. His aggressively violent behavior continued until he was 14, when his faith led him to a change of heart.

However, Wilson?s interest in taking on domestic violence also stemmed from seeing the NFL battle this problem as a league and wanting to do his ?small part? to turn around this troubling trend.

?I?ve been silent on the issue for too long, falling back on the ?I can?t speak to someone else?s personal life? excuse,? Wilson wrote. ?But victims need physical, emotional and financial support and care, and the resources to get away from their abusers. Abusers, you need to get help - you can change.?

To donate $2 to The National Domestic Violence Hotline through Pass the Peace, text ?WNYPassThePeace? to 41444.

By Brian Summerfield