In the Huddle: Women's Views on Football and NFL
If you think women only tune into the Super Bowl for the commercials and half-time shows, think again honey! We talked to over 50 women from around the country on the good, the bad, and the ugly of professional football. Our audience spans all ages from new college graduates to retirees.
First, we asked who was watching and who was not.
Then, we wanted to know who they were cheering for.
Next, we asked what football terms they knew.
Here's what they liked about football.
Jelyse, as a former high school basketball player, which one of these speak to you?
Well mom, sports taught me how to galvanize people together for a common goal. Despite injuries and fatigue, we hit the court hard every week with a mindset to win. This prepared me for the workplace as a current Marketing Manager at Cisco, Diversity Recruiter at John Deere, and Founder of Fusion Fitness by Jelyse.
Here's what they didn't like about football.
Mom, what didn't you like about football?
I'd have to say injuries. Soon after I married your Dad, we went to Super Bowl XX in New Orleans. The whole family flew in for the event, dressed in white, surrounded by friends. The first play, your dad caught a pass and his patellar tendon ripped apart. Little did I know he was getting injections in the knee in order to perform in the playoffs. He was carried out on a stretcher and the whole stadium went silent. Your Dad wasn't just a player, he also was the team's Chaplain and counseled players off the field. All of a sudden, someone tapped me on the shoulder. I looked up and it was Patrick Sullivan, the owner's son, telling me Lin was going to be okay. But, he wasn't okay. He had major surgery and was told he may never play the game again. Through prayer and physical therapy, he not only played again but regained his starting position!
The most controversial responses centered around social justice and salaries. Lin Dawson, former NFL Player, workforce development consultant and higher ed administrator shared his views.
Survey Response: "I've been really turned away from the NFL with the Colin Kaepernick and 'taking a knee' drama. As a league with so many black men, it would be good to see them take more efforts to actually support missions that support communities that look like their players."
Lin Dawson: According to players, the NFL means ‘not for long’. The average player plays 3.2 years. They get in and realize it’s a business, not a political movement or social enterprise. It’s a money making marketing engine. The sooner athletes realize this, the better. Every athlete has been given a platform. A scripture states "To whom much is given, much is required." I applaud Kaepernick for taking a stand, but that doesn’t mean I expect NFL owners to adopt my same social beliefs. I have to count the cost. I have to move according to my convictions and allow the chips to fall where they may. He was the sacrificial lamb in reference to police brutality. The issue is not solved, and the conversation has been slurred.
Survey Response: "Stop giving young players ridiculous salaries. They are not experienced enough to handle the responsibility "
Lin Dawson: It’s true that money and maturity rarely arise at the same time. America is the land of opportunity. If players are not paid the salaries driven by market, the owners will pocket the money. I agree with deferring money for younger players, but this is American capitalism.
Survey Response: "Assist with aftercare once a player no longer plays"
Survey Response: "Tackle mental health in their training as much as they focus on physical health"
Survey Response: "Ensuring the health of players, especially with regards to head injuries"
Margo Dawson: Many players, including your father are getting tested for concussions. However, we've lost many players due to CTE and don't have the numbers of how many suffer from anxiety and depression, not to mention those who weren't able to build a career post-NFL.
Retired players like Tony McGee, 14 year NFL veteran, took his passion for sports and opened a physical therapy clinic and started one of the longest running sports cable shows that can be seen nation wide. He opened doors for female sports analysts and continues to give back to his community with the Redskins Magazine Scholarship Program. Tony will be on the field during Super Bowl LIII as a uniform inspector.
Well ladies, that sums it up. Look for upcoming blogs featuring women, work, and wellness.