When DeAndre Hopkins walked into Wisdom High School this morning, the mood was as you would expect.
But the Texans wide receiver wasn’t there just to meet fans. He was there to deliver a message -- one that for him involves a story which isn’t easy to talk about.
“I’m 24 years old. I’ve been playing sports since I was 8 years old. At the age of 12, my mother was physically assaulted,” Hopkins told the gym full of students. “She was left for blind, left for dead. She had acid thrown on her face. Since the age of 12, my mother has never seen me play a football game or a basketball game.”
Hopkins had his mom by his side when he signed with the Texans, but behind the smiles still resides the pain of domestic violence.
Hopkins was making sure the 300 students knew that something can be done to stop it.
“It always stuck in my head: if she is able to see one day, then she is going to be able to see her son did something great with himself,” Hopkins said.
His next piece of advice? Make sure you speak up.
“I know you all are young and you go by the rule of no snitching, but it’s really not about that,” Hopkins said. “It’s deeper than that. It’s about somebody being affected long term. You can maybe call the police and save that woman’s or family’s life.”
One in four women experience domestic violence in their lifetime, and now that Hopkins has a daughter, Friday’s speech takes on added significance.
“Not to put them in a position that I was put in,” Hopkins said. “You learn from things that make you stronger. Everything I went through I don’t regret, none of it, because it made me the strong person I am today.”