‘Why Not You:’ A look back at Russell Wilson’s service to the community

SEATTLE — The reported departure of quarterback Russell Wilson signals the end of an era for the Seattle Seahawks.

But the news of Wilson’s trade to Denver is also a great loss of a player known for his humanitarian efforts around western Washington.

In 2021, the NFL recognized Russell Wilson for his countless contributions to the community by awarding him the Walter Payton Man of the Year award.

Wilson is one of two Seahawks to have won the award, joining Hall of Fame wide receiver Steve Largent, who won the award in 1988.

Alongside his wife, R&B star Ciara, Wilson founded a tuition-free charter public high school for underserved students in South King County.

The “Why Not You” academy in Des Moines will continue to serve the more than 400 students who attend the school.

Wilson’s presence will not only be missed in the classroom.

He has spent every Tuesday – his only day-off each week – visiting patients at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

During the coronavirus pandemic, the Wilsons also donated one million meals to the community through Food Lifeline, a nonprofit that provides food to food banks throughout western Washington.

Steve Raible, the longtime voice of the Seahawks and a former Seahawk himself, says Wilson will be truly missed.

“What he did off the field, at places like Children’s Hospital and his [Why Not You] foundation and all the great work … I’ve had more great conversations with him about scientific breakthroughs into children and pediatric cancer and what life was like in South Africa and the townships than I’ve had about football,” said Raible. “He’s just a truly amazing guy.”

As Wilson moves away from Seattle, his impact goes far beyond the football field; he leaves behind his impact to the community and a legacy of service.