February 10, 2023


Super Bowl Champion and Pro-Life advocate Benjamin Watson saw a room full of fellow playmakers as he looked over a Feb. 8 crowd at the Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center’s Great Rooms, who had gathered to hear him speak. 

A striking presence on the field as a tight end who could block and pass with the best of them, Watson became an outspoken champion of the unborn toward the end of his NFL career.

“This has to be your movement,” Watson said during his address titled, “Champion for Life,” which was hosted by student organization Cardinals for Life. 

Watson, who gained fame with the New England Patriots, said he was inspired by the enthusiasm of the many University students he saw participating in the 2023 March for Life in Washington, D.C. Among the many who marched were Cardinals for Life president Sophia Cook and communications director Katie Zaremba, both seniors. They had been dreaming since their sophomore years about having Watson visit campus to speak with students. Theirdream became a reality after they bumped into Watson at the March.

“It was so special to meet you all there and now to see you in your own element with this group,” Watson told the pair as they stood on stage before the crowd. “It truly is encouraging for me just to see young people who have a passion for life, not just for this issue, but are willing to extend themselves in different ways to advocate for life.”

“We’re so excited to have him here tonight,” said a beaming Cook. Zeremba affirmed that it was a “dream come true.”

Watson, a husband and father of seven, is author of several books including the forthcoming The New Fight for Life: Roe, Race, and a Pro-Life Commitment to Justice. He said students must push for equal treatment of life from “the womb to the tomb.” 

“This issue to me is about justice,” Watson said, reflecting on the legacy of 1960s civil rights leaders as the nation celebrates Black History Month. He cited Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who preached about “the fierce urgency of now.” He said a pro-life movement is about defending life at all stages and he believes this includes fighting against racism, joblessness, and poverty. 

“What will you do,” Watson asked the crowd, “for those that don’t know how much they are worth?” Watson said his parents have served as role models for him. He said they worked with a pregnant mother considering abortion and now watch the child daily. Watson added, “each of us has a role, each of us has a job to do.” 

Watson, who played for the Cleveland Browns, New Orleans Saints, and Baltimore Ravens, now plays for a new team. He is vice president of strategic relationships for Human Coalition, a Pro-Life advocacy group. He and his wife, Kirsten, have set up ultrasound machines for expectant mothers in many of the areas he played during his career, including nearby Severna Park, Md.

“I want to encourage you to really persevere in making abortion unthinkable,” said Watson.  “To make abortion unthinkable means changing the mindset of a culture where abortion is acceptable, where it is acceptable to terminate the life of a human being in utero.”