Sports

NC State football player heeds speaker’s message as call to action

N.C. State’s James Smith-Williams (1) waits to head onto the field before the Kay Yow Spring Football game at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh, N.C., Saturday, April 6, 2019.
N.C. State’s James Smith-Williams (1) waits to head onto the field before the Kay Yow Spring Football game at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh, N.C., Saturday, April 6, 2019. ehyman@newsobserver.com

When Brenda Tracy spoke to N.C. State’s football team last month, she did more than just share her powerful story as a rape survivor.

Tracy challenged the Wolfpack players to make a difference for survivors of sexual and physical violence. Senior defensive end James Smith-Williams listened to Tracy but wanted to do more.

“Her message is extremely moving,” Smith-Williams said. “She gave us an actual challenge and I wanted to help out any way that I could.”

Smith-Williams, who is from Raleigh, had previously volunteered at InterAct in Wake County. InterAct is a non-profit agency that provides, safety, support and awareness to victims and survivors of domestic and sexual violence, according to its web site.

Smith-Williams, whose mother Wendy is a social worker, came up with the idea to help out InterAct by collecting items for the non-profit agency at N.C. State’s home baseball game on Friday.

Smith-Williams and members of the Wolfpack football team will be at Doak Field on Friday about an hour before the 6:30 p.m start time to collect an assortment of helpful items for InterAct, including bottled water, towels, clothes, soap and food.

“I just wanted to move as quickly as possible to help,” Smith-Williams said.

Even Tracy, who speaks to high school and college athletes across the country for her “Set the Expectation” foundation, was impressed by Smith-Williams’ initiative.

“Never underestimate the power of our student-athletes! Thank you for leading the charge on this @jacsw3 !!” Tracy wrote to Smith-Williams on Twitter on Tuesday.

Joe Giglio covers N.C. State and has worked at The N&O since 1995. He has regularly reported on the ACC since 2005.


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