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Steelers’ William Gay lost his mother to domestic violence, supports Verizon’s HopeLine

NFL player William Gay of the Pittsburgh Steelers was only 7 years old when his stepfather shot and killed his mother. In the video above, Gay shares his personal experience with domestic violence.

Gay and ​award-winning actress Uzo Aduba (“Orange Is the New Black”) joined Verizon’s HopeLine program to take action against domestic violence. Together, they announced their goal to collect one million phones this year to support victims of domestic violence.​

As a child, Gay lived with his mother and brother in a Tallahassee, Florida, housing project. His mother eventually married. Gay did not have knowledge of any trouble in his mother’s marriage, but on March 14, 1992, William’s mom and stepfather had an argument that resulted in his stepfather shooting his mother three times, killing her. The stepfather later took his own life.

?NEW YORK, April 29, 2015 - ?Professional football player William Gay joined Verizon’s HopeLine program today to take action against domestic violence. Together they announced a goal of collecting 1 million phones ?by the end of ?this year to su

Insider Images/Andrew Kelly (UNITED STATES)


After the tragedy, Gay became angry and rebellious, and was saved by the loving care of his grandmother and bold intervention of his uncle. He turned his life around and years later found himself at the Super Bowl, wishing his mother could be there — smiling from the stands. Realizing he wanted to do something to honor his mother’s memory, he began dedicating his free time to raising awareness about domestic violence.

Take action against domestic violence by …

  • Drop off a phone – visit any Verizon store to donate no-longer-used wireless phones, batteries, chargers and accessories from any service provider to support domestic violence prevention and awareness organizations.
  • Visit com/about/hopeline to learn more.

Visit​ to learn more.

1 Comment

  1. Lisa on May 3, 2015 at 8:31 am

    To William Gay – There are a lot of families, including mothers, fathers, siblings, and adult children of domestic violence victims who do not believe or support victims like your mother until something this extreme happens. You would not believe how many women think domestic violence is okay. The Courts are a meat grinder for victims, especially when they try to protect their children from it as they “get out” . Other women in society bully the victims. Children are brainwashed by the criminal father or step-father or boyfriend – especially boys. I am so glad this guy was a step-father so you aren’t wrapped up in your feelings for him which then allows you to support your mother’s memory and see the crime for what it is, unhindered. You can speak out against these criminals in a powerful way. My family and extended family are too ignorant and selfish. My child was left unprotected, and so was I. I am so sorry you lost your mother, especially to that crime. Society is mean, mean, mean to domestic violence victims – alive or deceased. Thank you sharing your story. Please continue to help us.