Today, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson was revealed and celebrated as one of ‘Earth’s Mightiest Athletes,’ a new collective of sports superstars that embody the positive characteristics of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes—The Avengers. ‘Earth’s Mightiest Athletes’ aims to acknowledge and honor sports champions making positive change, recognizing their outstanding achievements on the playing field and their super-powered community service.
First in joining the inaugural all-hero athlete team, Wilson is recognized for exhibiting the qualities of Captain America, including agility, strength and courage for those most in need. Wilson has been instrumental in providing help to those in need, founding the ‘Why Not You Foundation’, a nonprofit dedicated to fighting poverty through education and empowering youth to lead with a why not you attitude. Wilson and the full consortium of ‘Earth’s Mightiest Athletes,’ will be honored at the Sports Humanitarian Awards on July 12 in New York, with a television special airing on July 24 at 2 p.m. ET on ABC. Guided by the core principals of confidence, conviction, dedication, giving and respect, the team’s collective action provides a useful and practical lens for the athlete humanitarian, the athlete mentor and the athlete activist.
“Captain America possesses the same never-give-up spirit that I aspire to achieve every day, especially when it comes to helping kids,” said Russell Wilson. “It’s very cool to be viewed on the same level as such an iconic hero, and very special to get to celebrate Father’s Day with some of the world’s most inspiring young people at The Happiest Place On Earth.”
On Father’s Day, as a way of commemorating Wilson as one of ‘Earth’s Mightiest Athletes,’ Wilson and a group of Los Angeles-based kids he’s worked to support through his Why Not You Foundation and affiliated national youth mentoring organization Friends of The Children, embarked on a magical day of play at Disneyland Resort. Festivities included an action-packed visit to Disney California Adventure Park, where everyone had a chance to live out their own Super Hero dreams at the all-new Avengers Campus. The day was underscored by web slinging fun on WEB Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure and a heroic encounter with Captain America himself. The magic continued with a surprise stop at the Downtown Disney LEGO store, where he and his special guests got to take home new Captain America-inspired LEGO sets and collectibles.
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“Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, The Avengers, have shown us time and again that when we refuse to give up, we can conquer any challenge,” said Ken Potrock, president, Disneyland Resort. “Russell exemplifies excellence on the football field, but the work he has done to support at-risk youth and their communities creates a lasting legacy just like Captain America. We couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate his outstanding achievement than a visit to Avengers Campus, our destination for all heroes.”
In addition to his foundation efforts, Wilson has worked to help donate more than $9 million to support the battle against cancer. He has also made weekly trips to Seattle Children’s Hospital during his nine-year career with the Seahawks to visit with patients getting treatment, and during the pandemic, Wilson stepped up to donate a million meals to families in need. In February, Wilson was named the NFL’s Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year. The Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award recognizes an NFL player for his excellence on and off the field and is the most prestigious award a player can receive. Additionally, he has been strong advocate for social justice and equality. In 2020, Wilson co-hosted the ESPY Awards with Sue Bird and Megan Rapinoe, during which he opened the show with a moving speech about the fight for racial equality in response to movement for Black lives across the world.
In September 2021, as a part of his continued effort to impact young people, Russell and Ciara will celebrate the grand opening of Why Not You Academy, a tuition-free charter public school just south of Seattle that focuses on building achievement, community, and empowerment and prepares students to create and thrive in future careers. The school hopes to enhance the mission of Why Not You Foundation by providing today’s youth with tools to become tomorrow’s leaders with a ‘why not you’ attitude.
About the Why Not You Foundation
Founded in 2014, Russell Wilson and Ciara’s Why Not You Foundation is a nonprofit dedicated to fighting poverty through education, empowering today’s youth to lead with a why not you attitude. The foundation supports student access to equal education opportunities, children’s health and food security initiatives. Its mission is to equip today’s youth with the skills and opportunities to become tomorrow’s leaders. In Fall 2020, the foundation announced its first Why Not You Academy, a school that blends real-world applications with classroom learning. Learn more at www.whynotyoufdn.org.
About the Sports Humanitarian Awards
The seventh annual Sports Humanitarian Awards is a celebration of the impact made by athletes, teams and sports industry professionals who are using sports to make a difference in their communities and throughout the world. This year, the Sports Humanitarian Awards will take place on Monday, July 12 at The Rooftop at Pier 17, located within the Seaport in New York City, with a 90-minute television special airing on Saturday, July 24 at 2 p.m. ET on ABC. The Awards will be hosted by actor and author Taye Diggs.