Seattle Seahawks star quarterback Russell Wilson has taken on another gridiron role, this one focused on youth sports, by taking on the role of co-owner and chairman of NFL Flag, a flag football league sponsored by the NFL and focused on football fundamentals and community involvement.
Wilson’s charge will be to oversee the strengthening NFL Flag domestically and expanding the league worldwide. He will work with Reigning Champs Experiences (RCX), headed by former NFL safety Izell Reese, to advance league development for both boys and girls as well as its growth globally.
Wilson has worked with flag football organizations in China, Brazil, Canada and the United Kingdom to expand awareness of the sport and to get youth engaged in the game.
“Participating in community events and organized sports as a child can offer countless physical, mental, and social benefits,” Wilson says. “These benefits should not be limited to athletes of any age, race, socioeconomic background or gender, and it’s important to create opportunities for boys and girls from all walks of life to be given these same advantages.
“We want to create opportunities for kids around the world to experience and learn the sport of football and our hope is to grow the popularity of the sport on a global level,” Wilson adds.
NFL Flag is a licensed property of the NFL open to boys and girls that involves a network of more than 1,600 locally operated flag football leagues that touch some 500,000 youth athletes nationwide. It is a non-contact football league open to youth ages 5-17.
“Russell’s demonstrated character, leadership and international experience will guide NFL Flag as a global sport in which everyone can participate,” says Troy Vincent, executive vice president of NFL Football Operations. “Russell's ability to bring people together and inspire the values of football will be transformational in growth and acceptance of American football around the world.”
Wilson’s other business ventures include heading Seattle-based West2East, a brand-management and content-production company; and Why Not You Productions, a film, television and digital-content production company that he runs with his wife, Ciara. In addition, he founded a men’s apparel line, Good Man Brand, and is a co-owner of the Seattle Sounders professional soccer team. Wilson also founded the nonprofit Why Not You Foundation, which has raised more than $4 million and is focused on improving the lives of youth.