Goodbye to MY Oakland Raiders

March 27, 2017. Darkness hovers over my sports fandom.

The NFL, spurred on by Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, approved the Oakland Raiders relocation move to Las Vegas.

Las Vegas Raiders.

excuse me while I tend to some digestive discomfort

The Raiders.

The Raiders.

You say that name and you automatically think, Oakland.

And if you don’t, who are you?

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In all seriousness, the Raiders are Oakland. You see it in their fan base: passionate, tough, hard-working. In other words, they care.

As is the nature of sports in today’s world, the Raiders don’t care about them in return. “Raiders” in this context means Mark Davis.

Full disclosure: I am a life-long Oakland Raiders fan. Back in 2014, I wrote about the state of the team and how I thought Davis should sell. Although they returned to the playoffs this past season and are on an upward trajectory with a talented core of players, I still think Davis should have sold the team.

I didn’t like his leadership, particularly in light of the departure of former team CEO Amy Trask. Trask, who had been with the organization for decades, wouldn’t leave without good reason is what I thought. She may say it was “time” or she wanted to “pursue other opportunities”, which she has done.

But, my instincts told me there was more to it.

Trask was (and still is) fiercely loyal to Al. Although I disagreed with some (many) of the decisions Al made over the years, there was no denying his passion for his team: The Raiders.

Mark Davis is no Al Davis.

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Mark Davis is doing what’s best for Mark Davis. In his best Al Davis-impression, he is uprooting the team from its home, its fans, its core and heading to (greener) $$$$$$$ pastures in Vegas.

I’m sure the people of Vegas will love it, initially. Businesses will love it too. Incoming fans might love it…until they see how much more everything costs to stay in Vegas. That $750 million Vegas & the state of Nevada are ponying up for a new stadium has to come from somewhere, right? Taxes upon taxes levied at out-of-town visitors.

You don’t just go to Vegas.

You do Vegas – or so I hear.

Gambling, shows, cuisine, other unmentionables that I don’t know about – it all adds up, financially. Now tack on the astronomical cost of hotels to pay for the stadium? Yeah, that’s not blue-collar. That’s not the Raiders.

That’s Mark Davis.

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Let’s not forget all of the other events that will take place at this fancy new stadium. The Raiders only have eight home games, plus two preseason ones. 10 dates for NFL football. What about the other 355 days of the year?

Vegas will probably be more successful than other cities with NFL stadiums at luring top-level sporting and entertainment events. According to LasVegasNow.com interest is already heating up, “Events at the stadium would fill hotel rooms all over the city during the slower months and they are already in talks with Europe’s top soccer teams to come here.”

European soccer clubs? Nope, that’s not my Raiders.

Take a team out of a city and the owner changes the name. In my heart of hearts, the Raiders will always be Oakland, the city of my birth.

But, when I step back and look at this scenario with no emotional attachment, I ask myself one question: Why do teams have to use a city/state in their name at all?

Sure, it’s tradition and all, but in today’s day and age where teams relocate like what we’ve see in the NFL (three in the past 16 months), why do teams need to have the city/state as part of the name anymore?

Yes, Steelers fans, I can hear you now. The Steelers will never leave Pittsburgh. Sorry, but the Rooneys won’t always own the team and if they do, who’s to say they’ll have the business sense of the current crop?

Never is a long time and life is unpredictable.

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Cliches aside, at their highest levels, sports teams are loyal only to themselves in business. If a better business option is available, they will take it.

The Raiders.

To me and so many other Raiders fans, they will always be the Oakland Raiders. But, teams don’t owe fans any loyalty in business. Those who choose to do so, well done. You don’t have to, but you do. You try to operate in good faith – keep it up.

Even when they moved to Los Angeles, I still cheered for the team because they were the Raiders. There was always a possibility that they would return, so it didn’t make sense not to root for them. I was thrilled when they did as that where they belonged.

Now, the Raiders are leaving again. Returning will be out of the question – they’re gone.

As long as they are in Oakland, I will cheer for them. How can I not when they have players like Deek Carr:

As for when they arrive in Vegas, well, I don’t know how I will feel. It’s disappointing right now, sure. But, anyone who says they know how they will feel in a few years (next year?) time, is either fooling with you or fooling themselves.

This move is yet another notch in my move away from sports team fandom. I “loved” the Raiders because they were the city of my birth – the first team I ever cheered for. Growing up in Arizona pre-Cardinals, there was no NFL team to cheer for.

The Oakland Raiders were my team. 

They were my first “sports” love.  

Like first loves in life, you don’t forget your first sports love. It’s forever embedded in your memory. Perhaps for some, they still have that connection to it. The passion and emotion is still strong after decades together. Others aren’t so blessed. Just ask St. Louis, San Diego, Hartford (NHL), Atlanta (NHL), Seattle (NBA), Vancouver (NBA)…

Still, some try to reunite with that first love, even when they’ve made it clear…they don’t want you back. It’s hard to let that first love go. 

Deep down, Mark Davis doesn’t want Oakland Raiders fans. He wants Raiders fans.

No city.

No allegiance.

No love. 

Even when in L.A., I never left my Oakland Raiders fandom. 

But now, it’s leaving me.

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CadChica Sports

Life Lessons from The Book of Amy Trask

The Book of Amy Trask

Just write, baby.

I could hear the voice of Amy Trask, channeling Al Davis, telling me to write. Write what, you ask? Write about the emotions and struggle I felt during and after reading her new book, You Negotiate Like A Girl (written with Mike Freeman). Emotions? Struggle? From a book? Yeah, read on…

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Leadership

Journey to Leadership

 

When I reached that last chapter, I knew the journey was coming to an end. But, I didn’t want it to end. I felt as though I was reading about a part of my life that I never knew before. As a lifelong Oakland Raiders fan, I felt as if I was peeking into something I shouldn’t be — the man who represented the Raiders, Al Davis.

Represented doesn’t even seem like the right word, does it? Al Davis was, and in some ways still is, the embodiment of the Raiders. In my formative years, he seemed both brilliant and disconnected. Maniacal and innovative. Rebellious and…well, let’s just leave it there.

Here I was reading about Davis from someone who worked closely with him, Amy Trask. Trask was the Raiders CEO at the time of her departure – the first female executive in the history of the NFL. She worked her way up through the organization the right way – with hard work, determination and passion for the organization.

But, what impressed me most about Trask wasn’t just how she handled the relationship with Davis. That, in itself, was no easy task (She always tried ‘not to f— it up!’). No, what impressed me most was – is – her outlook on work and life. In many ways, it surpasses many of the leadership books written by so-called experts, gurus and motivational speakers.

  • Listening Skills – “Reasoned and reasonable arguments intended to problem solve can be valuable. I don’t believe, however that such arguments should ever include ad hominem attacks.” (excerpt from chapter 7, “Get the Sandwiches”)
  • Company-minded thinking: Trask made a concerted effort to learn all she could about the organization from top to bottom, even when she wasn’t yet at the top. Understand how things currently work within so you know what works and what doesn’t.
  • Encourage team dialogue: Trask was cognizant of how every cog in the wheel is important. She encouraged a team-effort to help get the Raiders through the lock-out a few years back. 
  • Think like a fan: I cannot overemphasize this point enough. I’ve been preaching this for years on Twitter to sports marketers. You want to connect with and reach fans, think like them. Amy Trask made it a point to sit with fans, talk with them, use stadium concessions and facilities like they do. Guess what? It worked. 
One doesn’t become CEO of a major sports team in the U.S. without qualities like these. It’s one thing to say it. It’s another thing to live it, then write about it. I don’t know that Trask and Freeman set out to write this book for its leadership tips, but I gleaned many tips from the stories and anecdotes they shared in it.
 
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Not In My Twitter Village

 

If Trask is never named commissioner of the NFL, can she be named Twitter Commissioner instead? Twitter Czarina? Twitter Princess of Darkness? (More on that in a moment.)
As I closed the book, I had tears in my eyes. Tears because the journey “with” Trask was over. Tears because of all of the stories told (don’t even get me started on what she says about her nameless husband). Tears because of the “what ifs” about “my” Raiders. Tears because I knew I needed to write this review, but deep down I knew it wouldn’t matter. Nobody would read it anyway.

Just write, baby.

There are days when I open Twitter on my phone or TweetDeck on my desktop or laptop and I either a) cringe b) shake my head c) feel like crying d) sigh e) immediately close it. The Twitter of today isn’t what it used to be when I joined back in 2009. Today, it’s a cacophony of look-at-me’s, I’ve got an opinion and you WILL listen and arguments with no one listening.

And that’s just in sports media.

Then I heard a voice. It wasn’t Amy channeling Al this time. It was Amy saying,
Not in my Twitter village.

Amy Trask is a leader. Not a perfect leader, as she would tell you. But, she is a leader who understands the big picture. To reach the conclusion, you need to work out the story first. The story cannot have 10-20, 50-100, 500-1000 different writers each trying to write their own plot. There needs to be a common theme, a common goal to the overarching story.

This won’t happen without communication. Communication requires not just talking but listening too. Listening has become a lost art in many sport media circles.

Call it what you will: the chains/muzzles/restrictions/whatever have been removed for sports media with the advent of Twitter. Before, they could not show any partiality on any non-sports topics. Well, they could, but…not a good look for the employer – a journalist showing a bias about a subject matter meant they couldn’t be unbiased about anything.

Those days are gone. It’s been a blessing and a curse. There is more rhetoric, more bickering, more discord, more (dare I say it) self-importance than ever before. Then again, it’s always been there. It just didn’t have a method of delivery that spreads as quick as Twitter. Twitter has become this generation’s sports talk radio – only instead of callers being screened or certain types of hosts getting on air, everyone gets to talk.

Not in my Twitter village.

Darn it, Amy Trask.

What “You Negotiate Like A Girl” reminded me is to ‘be true to myself’. That has been Trask’s mantra, passed down to her by her mother (to thine own self be true). Trask has operated in that mindset her entire adult life, all the while encountering various levels of resistance.

Trask didn’t looked at her gender as a help or hindrance, although some did and do on both sides of the coin. She didn’t look at race, although she was fully cognizant of it in her organization – the Raiders did many “firsts” along this line – and in society as a whole (read her Nolan Harrison story in the book).Trask story

For her, it was about what you did not who you were. Do your job, whatever that may be, and do it to the best of your ability. You’ll be rewarded based on what you did not who you were (i.e. not because of your gender or race). Don’t whine about what you don’t or didn’t get – make your work so good that you can’t help but be noticed. Learn all you can about your job, help others when you can and just work, baby.

To read Trask’s perspective on this mindset is affirmation for me. My book is filled with folded corners, underlined sentences and numerous margin comments – some of the YES or AMEN variety. I know I’ll have to re-read it to gain even more perspective, but being true to who I am…

 

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Final Thoughts

To me, if we want equality, we can be cognizant of discrepancies and differences that exist all while not operating in them. How? Don’t promote one at the expense of another. Work hard, be determined, learn your craft, listen well, leave toxic environments, champion others and surround yourself with those who believe in you for you.

Communication – which is BOTH listening and speaking – is paramount in any discussion on equality. We may end up agreeing to disagree, but at least we aim to dialogue WITH one another. We need to listen to each other’s point of view instead of screaming (in all caps, of course):  I’M RIGHT. MY POINT OF VIEW IS RIGHT. MY INTERPRETATION IS RIGHT. YOU’RE WRONG ON ALL COUNTS. 

It all starts with respect. Respecting people as human beings. Respecting that they are a person with value no matter who they are or what they represent. They are uniquely created human beings with a mind and a soul. We don’t have to agree with their actions, but they are human beings. 

When we as a society begin to view people in that way, society’s mindset will change. A Herculean task, to be sure. But, given where society is currently at, there needs to be a mindset change. A “village mindset”? Maybe. 

If you follow Amy Trask on Twitter, you understand many of these concepts when she talks about her “Twitter village”. However, if you do follow Amy on Twitter and haven’t read the book, I suggest that you read it. Not only will you learn about her journey, Al Davis, the Oakland Raiders and leadership, but you might even learn a little about yourself if you’re willing to…

Just listen, baby. 

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CadChica Sports

The Missing Point on Colin Kaepernick and the Anthem

ANTHEM CONTROVERSY

The National Anthem 

Colin Kaepernick

A quick Google search reveals some interesting headlines:

Criticize Colin Kaepernick but...

Former starting quarterback, now back-up quarterback, for the San Francisco 49ers, Colin Kaepernick, did not stand when the National Anthem was played this weekend at a 49ers home preseason game. His reasoning (as told to NFL.com): 

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

For those unaware, the killings of young black men by police with no consequences to the police is what Kaepernick is referring to. The topic is not as simple as defining it by racial relations. Why? Because as much as people would like to believe it’s black-and-white, it’s not. 

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CONTEXT MATTERS

The longer I work in this sports media business, the less I interact with it online. I’ve learned a lot about the business by asking questions, but I’ve found that I’m learning more by observing. I observe what’s being shared on blog posts, news articles, podcasts, interviews, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like. I observe what sports media say when they think no one is paying attention. I observe what fans say when they want everyone to hear them. 

But, I also pay attention to the why. Why does someone believe what they believe? Why do they react to an incident the way that they do? A story that is shared 5 months ago can be quite telling into someone’s reasoning of today. A childhood memory can shape a belief system as an adult. A criminal act that occurred long ago can dictate instant tweets today.

That, my friends, is context. 

Context matters in today’s social media world. It matters especially on Twitter – since that’s where most media reside these days – with its character limits. Instead, people (media and non-media) spout off their opinions as fact without thought as to the why behind the story. 

That’s missing context.

I’ve even seen blog posts mentioning how “social media” attacked Colin Kaepernick. Their definition of “social media”? Twitter.

News flash: Twitter isn’t social media. It is but one platform of many and is a poor representative of majority of America, since, well, most Americans are not on Twitter. Side note: Twitter has 313 million active monthly users WORLDWIDE (source: Statista). That includes businesses, brands, organizations, sports teams, sports leagues — which is key to remember when we’re talking WORLDWIDE Twitter users). But, hey, go right ahead and make assertions about “social media” 

There are stories of how Colin Kaepernick was wrong and if you’re defending him you’re un-American. There are stories of how Colin Kaepernick was right and if you’re accusing him of being un-American, you’re racist. As you can see in the image above, there’s one calling for a new anthem. 

** TIME OUT **

BELIEFS AND EXPERIENCES

Let me ask this question: What does the National Anthem mean to you? Does it mean the same to you as it does to Colin Kaepernick? What about to an immigrant that just became an American citizen? Does it mean the same as a military widow? How about to a fifth-generation Iowan or New Yorker? 

What the anthem means to you is exactly that. It’s personal. It doesn’t necessarily mean that it is right or wrong. It means that is your perspective, based upon your life, your family, your experiences in this country. What it means to you isn’t the same as the next person.

Some place more value in the words of The Star-Spangled Banner than others. Is that wrong? No. Some see the goings-on in this country both now and in the past and cringe at what they see as hypocrisy. Is that wrong? No.

  • RELATED: Alejandro Villanueva on Kaepernick’s protest (ESPN)

We live in a democratic country that enjoys (yes, enjoys) many freedoms. One of the many beauties of America is how different the people in this country are. We are free to honor the flag and sing the words. We are free to sit during the anthem, in silent protest. 

If one has grown up in well-to-do neighborhoods all their life, how can one understand what someone who’s grown up on the streets has endured? If one has never been pulled over by a police officer for speeding, how can one understand being pulled over for doing the speed limit? If one lives and dies by home improvement shows, how can one understand those who were forced onto reservations generations ago? 

And vice-versa. 

There are complexities to everyone’s life that causes each of us to do/say what we do. Yet, some believe (in media, especially) that understanding others can be found in a tweet. Or, that they 

To define Colin Kaepernick in this one act is to marginalize everything else he has experienced prior. To define his dissenters by a single tweet or statement is to marginalize everything they’ve experienced prior. It’s narrow-minded to think either way, but this is the time that we live in right now. 

Sound bite, 140-character, 24-hour, microwave-mentality society.

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There are problems in this country. There will always be problems in this country. A free society allows as much because we all bring our different beliefs and experiences to the table. (1)

MY THOUGHTS

Do I agree with Colin Kaepernick’s protest of the anthem? No. Does he have a right to do that? Yes. Can I understand why he did it? Yes. Do I understand why people are defending him? Yes. Do I understand why people are outraged? Yes. Are there governmental problems? Yes. Are there societal problems? Yes. 

Now, are people missing something in all of this talk? ABSOLUTELY. 

There are problems in this country. There will always be problems in this country. A free society allows as much because we all bring our different beliefs and experiences to the table. There are other topics that contribute to our differences, including money, power, faith, religion, race, ethnicity and so on and so on. We are all different so expecting us all to believe the same thing is nonsensical. 

What does this country mean to you? What does it mean to you to live in America? What does the National Anthem mean to you? What does it mean to have people giving their lives every day so you can be free? 

How you answer those questions is part of what defines you. Notice how I said “part”. If I were to define you by how you answer just one of those questions means I will ignore the other 99% of what makes you who you are. 

I won’t define Colin Kaepernick by this incident. In a way, I believe he and I share a common trait. He is a thinker. He strikes me as someone who thinks about not only the what but the who, why, where, how and when too. 

That’s how I think too. It doesn’t mean when I finally come to a conclusion that I’m right or I won’t change my mind. I always want to be learning. We will never foster meaningful dialogue without listening and learning from others, especially on emotionally charged topics such as this or race or religion or faith or politics or…….you get the idea. 

Right or wrong, agree or disagree, Colin Kaepernick is helping me to learn. Learn about him, about the NFL, about media, about society and even about you and me. Hopefully, he is learning too.

Question is…are you willing to learn too?

Don’t tweet about it, just think about it.

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CadChica Sports

Disposable Athletes

WRITER’S NOTE: This article originally appeared on the now-defunct Yahoo! Voices network on April 27, 2012. The article is no longer available on Yahoo’s network. Reprinted here as the author of original work.

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Disposable Athletes


Discarded tires.

Tires that have been worn, stripped, shredded, ripped, torn in half and dumped in an empty field.

There usefulness has expired. No longer wanted. Sitting in emptiness.

Discarded tire

What becomes of athletes whose usefulness is no longer needed?

When they are battered and bruised. Broken and stripped of talents and gifts that they were created with. Worn out beyond their life span.

Are they discarded like these worn tires? Or are they given the tools needed to succeed beyond their “sports-life span”?

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I often wonder if high school and college athletes are getting the education they need. Education as in life skills. Life skills for “after” sports.

Invariably, there will always be a post-sports life. What happens then? True, there are those athletes who have the skills to succeed but many don’t. Would we see athletes leave school early for the NBA or NFL, only to find they are no longer wanted or needed like before? Who fills their head with dreams of fame and fortune, yet reality screams ‘THERE IS MORE TO LEARN’?

We call them student-athletes. Athletes on the field or court. Students in traditional classrooms. What do they learn in high school and college? Reading, writing and arithmetic? If one has a learning disability, is he simply passed along so he graduates (high school) to get that scholarship or maintains his eligibility (college), all in the name of bringing glory to the school? The greater the glory….the greater the money that comes in right?

What if the “student-athlete” does not know how to track his money? Open a bank account? Use a debit card? Recognize the psychology (motives) of those around him? Does he know how to use social media effectively? Can he recognize a potentially “bad” situation? Has he surrounded himself with people who will give him truth not just a “yes”? Will he believe the agent that promises him first round draft status, despite his undraftable skills? What about making decisions for the future?

When the lights and cameras fade away, all the athlete has left is his life. Does he know how to make it without the sports, the fame, the fortune, the “yes” people, the lights, the adulation from fans? What then?

Discarded athletes. Discarded tires. 

NFL Drafts Alone Don’t Win Championships

WRITER’S NOTE: This article originally appeared on the now-defunct Yahoo! Voices network on May 9, 2012. The article is no longer available on Yahoo’s network. Reprinted here as the author of original work…for posterity’s sake. 🙂 

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Team ______. Your selections in this year’s NFL Draft did not meet my standards of mock-draftness. You get a grade of “D”.

NFL experts are paid to study. Study the players. Study the teams. Study the games. For some, it’s almost as if they are paid per word to speak, write and tweet.

Fair? Unfair? It depends on how much stock one puts in the “experts” opinions. 

In this year’s draft, take for example the case that is the Seattle Seahawks. The prevailing opinion among a variety of “draft grade” stories is that the Seahawks rate no better than a “C”.

When the Seahawks selected West Virginia’s Bruce Irvin with the 15th overall pick in the first round, “reach” was the word. He is a raw athletic talent with great potential; excellent pass-rushing abilities. How many teams, however, draft “potentials” in the first round on defense? Not many.

But does that type of a move justify grades? Sure, “experts” grade an entire team’s draft. But much of the grading stems from how well a team does with their first pick.NFL Drafts

In 2011, the Seattle Seahawks received unfavorable draft grades. One network (FOX Sports) gave the Seattle Seahawks a grade of “D”. Their first pick in 2011, offensive lineman James Carpenter, was a surprise even to his Alabama coach Nick Saban. That set the tone for the Seahawks draft grades. As the FOX Sports article states: “While they selected a few good players early on, Seattle picked them before many personnel evaluators felt they should have gone off the board.” 

Who else was drafted last year? John Moffitt (3rd), K.J. Wright (4th) and Richard Sherman (5th). All players, including Carpenter, received significant playing time last season, aside from injury.

And yet the grade was a “D”.

For contrast, look at the last two drafts for the Arizona Cardinals (the Seahawks NFC West division rival) and this past season’s Super Bowl champion, the New York Giants.

In that same FOX Sports 2011 article, the Arizona Cardinals were given a B+. 2010 was similar according to this AOL (Huffington Post) story with a “B”. What do two straight years of a “B” draft grade equate too?

Two straight years with no playoff appearances.

The New York Giants, on the other hand received similar grades to the Cardinals. In both the 2011 FOX Sports story and the 2010 AOL/Huffington Post story, the Giants received an average grade of “B”.

What did the two years of a “B” draft grade earn the Giants? A Super Bowl championship this past February. 

NFL draft grades don’t win championships. There are too many variables, including the draft, that go into a championship team. Team health plays a huge part. Coaching. Team chemistry. Free agent signings. Front office competency. Any number of factors can contribute to the making of a Super Bowl champ.

Solid drafts help but are not the end all-be all for teams.

Or fans.

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CadChica Sports

Lakatriona Brunson: I Know I Can Do It

I know I can do it.

With those words, Florida high school football has been forever changed. On February 8th, Miami Jackson High School named Lakatriona Brunson its first female football coach in the history of the state.

Check that.

She’s not just a football coach. She is the HEAD FOOTBALL COACH of the Jackson Generals.  

In the wake of Dr. Jen Welter and Kathryn Smith being hired this past year in the NFL, Brunson’s hiring is another triumph in the male-dominated sport of football. Much like Welter and Smith, Brunson has some football playing experience behind her.

Playing on the defensive line for the Independent Women’s Football League’s Miami Fury, Brunson once told the Sun Sentinel she modeled her game after “Warren Sapp, Jason Taylor, Bryant McKinnie”, just to name a few. All of whom were players with attitude.

Brunson brought that same attitude to television viewers in the reality show, South Beach Tow. Dealing with offensive line players and quarterbacks is one thing. Dealing with pissed off folks who are getting their cars repossessed…well…that’s another.

It might be easy for some to think of this as a publicity stunt. Those without knowledge of the Florida high school football scene could think that, especially with the hiring of Luther Campbell (yes, 2 Live Crew’s Luther Campbell). But, those folks don’t understand how long Campbell has been around South Florida football.

“At first I thought ‘this [expletive] might be crazy because I take football real serious,” Campbell told the Miami Herald. Talking with Coach Brunson allayed any fears Campbell may have had about working under a woman. “She knows her football. She’s on point. I don’t take this as a joke. I didn’t want to be part of no circus.”

LUTHER CAMPBELL   unclelukereal1  • Instagram photos and videos

via Instagram

Brunson agreed. “We’re just here to change the atmosphere at Miami Jackson and get some W’s on the board,” Brunson said in her introductory press conference. “We’re here to make Miami Jackson be contenders and win.”

With Brunson as head coach and Campbell as associate head coach and defensive coordinator, they’ll seek to raise the profile for a team that finished 3-6 overall (2-3 district) in 2015 playing in the competitive District 16-5A of Dade County. In 2014, then-coach Earl Little, Sr led the Generals to the playoffs and a Soul Bowl win over rival Northwestern. It was the team’s first Soul Bowl win since 2002.

If the pressure of Florida high school football isn’t enough, being the first female head coach in the state certainly adds to it. “I’ve coached since I was in high school so this isn’t anything new for me,” Brunson said. “I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t (on feeling she has more to prove).”

“I was blessed to get out of Miami to see other things. I think that’s just my objective – to get these kids out of Miami Jackson, out of Miami period to see other things. To be able to go on and be able to bring it back here and do the same thing I’m doing right now. My objective is to be here to just help these kids.”

Welter, Smith and now Brunson. With each hire, women are breaking new barriers in football coaching ranks.

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FINAL THOUGHTS

For me, it’s not about breaking barriers. It’s about being given an opportunity, regardless of gender. If a woman has the qualifications, gender shouldn’t disqualify her from being considered. If a man is better qualified and fits what the employer, team or otherwise is looking for then the man should get the job.

But, if a woman is better qualified, hire her. 

Because she can do it. 

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CadChica Sports

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War On Football

Oh, war has shattered many young man’s dreams

Made him disabled, bitter and mean

Life is much too short and precious to spend fighting wars these days

War can’t give life it can only take it away, ooh

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War On Football

Edwin Starr’s song “War” came to my mind recently. Not because of an actual war or skirmish going on around the world, but rather this tweet:

War on football

ESPN’s Danny Kanell was commenting on this article about former Pittsburgh Steeler, Antwaan Randle-El. In it, Randle-El discussed his life after football and the regrets he has playing the sport he loves. He told the Pittsburgh Gazette’s J. Brady McCullough, “I ask my wife things over and over again, and she’s like, ‘I just told you that,’” Randle El said. By morning, Randle El added, he’s forgotten it.

Randle El’s story is not a new one. It also comes on the heels of the movie “Concussion”. Starring Will Smith, Concussion tells the story of renowned forensic pathologist, Dr. Bennet Omalu, and his quest to bring his findings of CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), which pits him against the mighty NFL, to light.

Some pegged the movie as another dent in the NFL’s armor.

Quite the contrary.

According to Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch, league ratings increased for nearly all networks this season versus 2014.

  • NBC: 22.5 million viewers (21.3M in 2014)
  • Fox: 20.75 million viewers (20.73M in 2014)
  • CBS: 19.1 million viewers (18.7M in 2014)
  • ESPN: 12.9 million viewers (13.68M in 2014)

Only ESPN saw a dip in ratings numbers. Given the chatter that occurred on Twitter this season during Monday night games, better games could have helped that cause.

The bottom line, however, is that despite negative publicity like “Concussion” or domestic violence by players, fans are watching like never before. Sponsors are buying ad-time like never before. 

Which brings us back to Kanell’s war on football comment. The NFL is the shepherd and fans are the sheep. They will follow the shepherd’s voice (watch games) no matter what. As long as fans are tuning in and kids are still playing, there is no war on football.

Yes, like the song says, it is shattering many young man’s dreams and making them disabled, bitter and mean. Despite that, football is still America’s sport. 

But, it would be ignorant to think that the negative publicity and medical research isn’t affecting today’s young parents. The parents of today’s toddlers will be the ones deciding the fate of NFL and college football. Will they let their current 2-5 year-olds play football? 

What former player stories or medical research will come out between now and then? Will there be more Concussion-type movies? Or stories like Mike Webster, Junior Seau or Antwaan Randle El? 

In its current state, as long as the money and fans are there, nothing ever will. Forever is a long time though. If there’s one thing I have learned in life is that no entity, not even the NFL, is immune from controversy forever. Controversy like we haven’t seen yet will come the NFL’s way.

Someday. Not today.

Until then,

Oh, war has shattered many young man's dreamsMade him disabled, bitter and mean (2)

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CadChica Sports

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