What up world!
Long time no talk. A lot has happened since my last blog, so let’s jump right into it.
First things first, I know I said that I’d be giving y’all the inside scoop on my talk with NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith. But unfortunately, he had a conflict come up, so we weren’t able to meet. We’re looking to reschedule before my externship is done next week.
What did end up happening was a trip out to L.A. with NFLPA player manager Dior Ginyard for NBA All-Star Weekend. This was my first all-star game experience and it was lit. We went to adidas, Nike and Players Tribune events, got some cool merchandise and took advantage of a lot of great networking opportunities. I also got to go to Michael Jordan’s birthday party and catch up with my good buddy, and Hall of Fame wide receiver, Andre Reed. The whole weekend was very welcoming for athletes and making sure they had their own space to connect.
On Tuesday, I got right back to it, flying from L.A. back to Washington D.C. so I could make it to the studio for our appearance on FOX5’s Good Day DC morning show. They featured the externship, talking to me, Darius Hawkins of the Tennessee Titans (EventsDC and Under Armour extern), and Bryan Witzmann of the Kansas City Chiefs (Capitol Hill extern) about our experience and preparing for life after football. Since I’ll also be externing at NBC Sports Washington and ESPN980, it was cool to see the TV and production side — and to learn that the anchors have to wake up at 2 a.m. to get ready for the morning show that starts at 4 a.m. Sheesh!
Once I got back to the office, I had a bunch of meetings lined up with people in NFL Players Inc., which is the NFLPA’s marketing and licensing department that I’ve mentioned before. We talked about were how they are working to increase their bucket of revenue to $200 million — and as a player, I definitely liked the sound of that! We also touched on how the NBA now has group licensing rights like we have had. All of us as players sign a group licensing agreement, which guarantees a cut of the money that comes from things like Madden, jersey sales and other opportunities where the company needs the likeness or image of 6 or more players.
I also learned that there’s a database through Players Inc., where players have a profile that shows some of their interests and background. Then, when they have a sponsor come to them looking for a certain angle, they can just go in the database and find a player that fits that profile and go from there in making a deal for that player. It’s nice to know there are other avenues and people working for us to build our brand and make the most of our platform. I actually recently reaped the benefits of that for the first time by being part of a joke-telling segment at the NFLPA’s Collegiate Bowl, where you try to tell dumb jokes and the first person to laugh loses.
Lastly, we talked about the player camp program, where players can apply for merchandise and resources from the NFLPA to provide at their offseason camps, and ACE Media. ACE is a production company that works with media production companies to get a deal for every single player. Last year, they had about 1,300 deals, which is almost half of the 2,800 guys in the league. That’s pretty impressive.
The whole day was an eye-opening experience as to how much is out there for us players to make the most of our time in the league through sponsorship deals TV appearances and opportunities like this externship!
This piece is part of a collaboration between the NFLPA and Front Office Sports in order to give players the opportunity to showcase what they are doing in the business world. If you’d like to learn more, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org