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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Rachel Baribeau: Changing the Narrative

Rachel Baribeau is on a mission to change the narrative about women in sports. Photo courtesy of Dawn Montgomery-Green

By: Dawn Montgomery-Greene, @BreakofDMG

If you aren’t following Rachel Baribeau then you may want to hit FOLLOW now. Ms. Baribeau is a graduate of the Auburn University Broadcast Journalism program and as a master of her craft, she’s delivered insightful commentary to millions of sports enthusiast via national outlets such as Fox Sports, ESPN, CBS Sports, Yahoo, and SiriusXM. She is the south’s sweetheart of sports and is the first & only female host on the Sirius XM College Sports Nation show. In 2015, she was bestowed a Heisman vote by the Heisman Trust, and recently has joined the College Football Playoff Committee for their mock selection.

One thing that stands out about Baribeau’s career in sports is how she has received respect and admiration from the men who dominate this industry not only for her writing ability, but for her relentless pursuit of delivering authentic content. In 2008, in order to get a better understanding of what it was like to play football, Baribeau suited up and became one of the first female sportscasters to ever participate in a professional football training camp.

You can’t deny how hard she has worked and when looking for motivation in this industry she is definitely one of the game changers that you can look to for inspiration.

While lifting them up during their journeys, Baribeau dedicates time to pour into the next generation of women sportscasters by sharing the knowledge and experience she has acquired. She is passionate about various causes that are dear to her heart and even organized a climb up Kilimanjaro for former NFL, and Alabama, fullback Kevin Turner, who suffers from ALS.

Most recently, Baribeau spoke to the Florida State football team about playing football herself and shared her own abuse experience with the team to help change the narrative.

“My belief is that once these college coaches get these young men from high school then they are who they are already,” states Baribeau on how she created a curriculum that would help student-athletes learn how to make better decisions before it’s too late.

She doesn’t want to just talk about what’s wrong in college football, she wants to make a difference.

In a piece for Gridiron Now titled, College football is breaking my heart, she discussed how the news is full of horrible stories about what’s happening on college campuses and how people are ignoring it while being silent. A bold step to take in an industry that would just like for her to be pretty and talk sports.

This is bigger than sports.

Weeks after she spoke to the Seminoles, a story went viral about how wide receiver Travis Rudolph had sat with a student who was eating lunch alone. At the time, Rudolph didn’t know that this young man, Bo Paske, had autism, and felt like he needed to sit with him because he was alone.

“This is one day I didn’t have to worry if my sweet boy ate lunch alone, because he sat across from someone who is a hero in many eyes.”

— Leah Paske

Baribeau was later told that Rudolph shared that he was inspired by her speech to the team and that it was her words that motivated him to do what he did, further proving how important it is for the curriculum that she has created to reach these student-athletes.

Sports media hangs on to a lot of negative stories, but it is important that this woman in sports is taking the lead on changing that narrative. Baribeau has mastered the ability to grow in this industry and adjust the direction of her career as she goes.

“Find out who you are authentically, and that will motivate you to do what you love everyday.”

— Rachel Baribeau

Rachel is doing just that and she’s not intimidated by this being a man’s world.

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