At some point the bruises and scars can no longer be hidden. That’s how Freddie Scott II and his wife realized their neighbor was in trouble and in constant danger.
The Scotts discovered brutal facts. The woman’s husband was, among other things, beating her head against their hardwood floors and threatening to kill her if their eight-year-old son tried to call for help. The woman had no access to any money other than the allowance her husband doled out to her. She had no access to a car. She was, for all intents and purposes, a prisoner and she didn’t know how she would care for her son if she left. But that was before she decided to finally let others in on her secret.
A former wide receiver for the Atlanta Falcons and Indianapolis Colts between 1996 and 1998, Scott became an ordained minister in 2001. He is also certified, through an NFL program, to perform mental health first aide, including identifying signs of depression.
Once informed, the Scotts installed a support system. They reached out to the woman’s extended family. Scott described how things ultimately played out.
“We developed a text system where, if she ever felt something was escalating, she would text me so I could come over and diffuse things without him knowing [that I knew anything],” Scott said. “In the last episode we were actually able to get her oldest daughter to make the call to law enforcement and he was removed from the home.”
This commitment to helping others is simply an extension of the commitment that Scott has made to himself to be a leader and source of positive support to his own family. He wants to get the word out to women that there are ways to extricate themselves from their circumstances, and to men that this behavior is not acceptable and can be changed. Domestic violence takes place in all walks of life and Scott discussed how he has seen men have an epiphany when they realize they had certain triggers that they weren’t aware of, which were causing their violent behavior.
“What they realize is this trigger had nothing to do with her, maybe it had to do with an old girlfriend, your dad, something you saw your uncle do and somehow that pattern was embedded or that wound was there. Once you deal with that wound you can deal with the situation.”
Scott tries to get men to share their feelings more openly; something he said is not normally instilled in them.
“As men I think that’s a huge deficiency in us,” he said. “We put on that warrior mentality and we just suck it up. But, there’s a lot of doubt, there’s a lot of uncertainty.”
Scott has launched a non-profit foundation, and created his philosophy, “Seven Ways to Unlock the Champion.” His goal is to foster a spirit of camaraderie and support among men that will help them to both recognize and acknowledge their fears and weaknesses. This awareness serves as a path to healing so they can move forward and be stronger for both themselves and their families.
“I want to help men love and lead their family,” Scott said.
Scott, who has been married for fifteen years and has five children, takes his role as husband and father very seriously and it’s that message he’s trying to spread.
“It goes back to understanding my role as a man in my home,” he said. “As a leader, it’s my job to set the tone and culture in my home for a loving and nurturing relationship with my wife and children. You’re responsible to make sure it’s a winning culture.”
And Scott is quick to explain what he means when he uses the word, ‘leader.’
“Leadership does not mean dictatorship. I see leadership as a responsibility. I’m responsible to work with my wife, make sure I’m listening. I’m in tune to my wife, listening to her. If no one’s going to tell me the truth, she’s going to. It’s our job to work collaboratively together. Together we can do so much more than I can do by myself. “
Scott also wrote the book, “The Father I Wish I Had.” While he has a good relationship with his father (Freddie Scott I wrote part of the book’s introduction), the book addresses things that children feel when their relationship may not have been exactly what they wanted. Scott’s father, Freddie Sr., was also an NFL player and was therefore absent at certain times and Scott has used that to change how he parents his own children.
And Scott sees a simple way to start to make a shift in counterproductive male behavior.
“If we could get enough men to raise their hands and say, ’I have a question,’ if we could just get that done, it would be a huge step in moving this the right way.”
For more information about Freddie Scott and his initiatives: www.freddiescott.org or www.unlockthechampion.com.