Those who follow the Pittsburgh Steelers should be pretty intimately familiar with William Gay on the field. He has been here for over a decade, after all, and has played almost every role that he can in the secondary over that span of time.
We have gotten to know the former fifth-round pick in a number of ways in that span, and one of those things is a burden that he has carried for most of his life. When he was a child, his mother was killed by her then-boyfriend in 1992 during a domestic violence incident.
Understandably, that experience has driven him to a number of things over the course of the rest of his life. One of those things has been pursuing the cause of ending domestic violence. It is an ambitious goal that undoubtedly will never be reached, but any incident that is prevented is a victory.
Gay has partnered with local women’s shelters and charities for a number of years, but recently, he was contacted by The Biden Foundation, of all things, inquiring about his interest in joining their Advisory Council. Biden as in former Vice President Joe Biden.
According to the Foundation’s website, it is supported by seven pillars: advancing community colleges; ensuring LGBTQ equality; protecting children; shaping foreign policy; strengthening the middle class; supporting military families; and ending violence against women.
I suppose it’s obvious to which pillar Gay applies. He accepted the position to sit on the Advisory Council for ending violence against women, and is already on the website, complete with a biography. It reads, in part, that he “works to raise awareness about domestic violence by volunteering with local women’s shelters and speaking out about the need to educate men on their role in ending violence against women”.
Gay spoke to The Undeafeted about it after it all happened. “I received a letter, and when I saw ‘Joe Biden’ on it, I’m like, ‘OK, this might be a false letter”, he said, but he was informed by his agent, and then the league, otherwise.
Of Biden, he said, “his ideas are similar to what I have going on, what my beliefs are, and trying to end domestic violence. I was glad he thought of me. I jumped at the opportunity”, though he said that he had to wait, because the invitation came during the season, and he was committed to playing at that point.
“This is all I’ve been preaching, for everybody to just come together and realize that this is dangerous”, he told the website. “You can talk about it, you can do something about it. It’s not embarrassing to let someone know or to try to help someone. The more you talk about it, the more you get people comfortable, that’s the first ring of trying to eliminate these problems”.
The purple cleats Gay is wearing in the cover image represent domestic violence awareness, by the way. In 2015, he was fined for wearing the cleats, but the league changed the rules since then.