'It will get better': Cardinals running back David Johnson writes letter to children being bullied

Posted at 2:19 PM, Nov 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-07 16:19:09-05

Fresh off an incredible first half of the season and being named the NFC Offensive Player of the Month for October, David Johnson seems well on his way to becoming the best running back in Arizona Cardinals history.

Johnson is using his newfound fame and accolades to be a voice for kids who are being bullied -- an awful situation that Johnson knows all too well.

In an open letter in The Players' Tribune, the Cardinals third-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft wrote about being afraid of a certain kid who tormented him when he was growing up in Iowa.

"I was so scared of him, and so traumatized by the run-ins, that I was always super hesitant to go to the park. I felt like I couldn't freely be a kid and hang out with my friends without constantly worrying if he would be there; that I couldn't play sports or have fun outdoors without being picked on," Johnson wrote.

"I was scared. I was scared to go places. I was scared to do things. I was scared ... to be a kid."

Johnson said the bullying went on for several years, and he was often forced to decide between being punched by the kid or giving up his belongings.

Johnson went on to study education at Northern Iowa, and as part of his degree program, he talked to kids who were experiencing the same kind of bullying he did.

With so many young people considering suicide due to bullying, Johnson said he wrote his letter in order to let those kids know that the situation will pass, and to speak up about the situation to a parent, teacher or another adult they trust.

"Please hear me when I say this: You are important, and wonderful, and loved. People care about you. I care about you," he wrote. 

"I know it is hard right now, but trust me when I tell you that it will get better. I'm living breathing proof of that."

If you know a child who's being bullied, do them a favor: share Johnson's letter with that child as soon as possible.