Former NFL Great Hines Ward is a Role Model On and Off the Field

Written By: Ryan Smith, Megan Meier Foundation Intern

February 26, 2015

Hines Ward, Pittsburgh Steelers Wide Receiver.
Hines Ward, Pittsburgh Steelers Wide Receiver.

For more than 14 years (1998-2011), Hines Ward showcased his incredible talent as a wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the National Football league. Some of his greatest accomplishments include being a 2x Super Bowl Champion, a 4x Pro Bowl selection, and having his #86 retired by the Pittsburgh Steelers organization.

While he is most recognized around the world as a standout professional athlete, the adversity Ward faced in order to achieve his dreams should not be overlooked. Born an Asian American and Pacific Islander  (AAPI) biracial left Ward a constant bullying victim in school. This is how Ward summed up his experiences as a child, the target of discrimination:

“The black kids didn’t want to hangout with me because I was Korean. The Korean kids didn’t want to hangout with me because I was black. The white kids didn’t want to hangout with me because I was both black and Korean.”

Ward goes on to say that sports was the one thing he could turn to growing up because sports are about winning and being a part of a team, regardless of race.

In 2010, Ward’s days on the playing field were coming to an end but his goals to make a difference off the field were just beginning. He was selected to serve on the President’s Advisory Commission, where he was one of 18 Commissioners to serve on the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

The story of Hines Ward shows that anybody can be a victim of bullying, but with the right mindset, overcoming even the most challenging obstacles in life is possible.  Today, Ward is still a prominent figure in the fight against bullying.

You can join the conversation and learn more about Ward’s story and AAPI bullying prevention on Twitter using the hashtag #AAPIstrong.


For more information on Hines Ward, his struggle with bullying, and his movement, please visit the following links:

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