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FAN Take: Can Jay-Z Get More Fans For the NFL?

Posted on August 14, 2019

By Annalece Anhalt-Slaughter

FAN Take is a series that highlights trending events, issues, and decisions in the world of sports and analyzes how they may or may not factor into the Fan Controlled Football League. We would love to hear your feedback, so let us know what you think about each FAN Take!

Yesterday, news leaked that the NFL and rapper Jay-Z were entering into a new partnership. Many people, us included, looked at the news and just thought, “huh?” In a press conference this morning at the Jay-Z’s Roc Nation offices, we got some more details on what this partnership is all about. Roc Nation, will serve as the NFL’s “live music entertainment strategist,” and will have Jay-Z “consulting on entertainment, including the Super Bowl halftime show, and contributing to the league’s activism campaign, Inspire Change.” Additionally, they will be debuting the first ever “Songs of the Season,” whereby five artists from different labels record songs for NFL promotional spots and perform at a Pro Bowl concert.

We want to know what the fans think of this – is this the NFL’s way of appealing to those they’ve lost over the Kaepernick controversy? Are they trying to bring in a younger demographic by engaging five artists to record songs specifically for the league? Do you think their Inspire Change campaign will bring in new fans that want to be involved in something bigger than themselves? More importantly, if you’ve found yourself losing interest in the NFL, for whatever reason, will this partnership bring you back?

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Serena Williams Was the Best Part of the Oscars

Published February 25, 2019

By Annalece Anhalt-Slaughter

You read that right: Serena Williams was the BEST part of last night’s broadcast of the 91st Academy Awards (don’t @ us). During a commercial break, Nike aired a new ad narrated by Williams, “Dream Crazier.” Even if you didn’t watch the ceremony, you will have likely heard it by now because it is being shared non-stop across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and especially, LinkedIn. Seriously, I scrolled through my feed for at least two minutes seeing connections honoring the brand’s latest ad, and rightfully so.

The ad highlights numerous icons from various sports, including WNBA legend Lisa Leslie, Olympic gymnast Simone Biles, San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon, and Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhhamad among others – all women who have broken barriers and inspired people all over the world. It was almost as if Nike looked at their much-talked about Colin Kaepernick ad and decided, “you know what, we can definitely outdo ourselves.” Thankfully, they didn’t include that as part of the narrative and instead chose to go with this show-stopping line:

So if they want to call you crazy, fine.

Show them what crazy can do.

Do we think our heavily male fan base were fans of the spot? Of course! Our fans know how to recognize true athletic talent, and that was one minute and thirty seconds full of female talent. Just because these ladies aren’t playing in the FCFL (yet), doesn’t mean our fans don’t care. Do we think this will teach some of our fan base to not call women crazy? Hopefully, but even if they do, we get a feeling they’ll soon find out what crazy can do.

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Fan take: More Than an Athlete

Published February 13, 2019

By Annalece Anhalt-Slaughter

FAN Take is a series that highlights trending events, issues, and decisions in the world of sports and analyzes how they may or may not factor into the Fan Controlled Football League. We would love to hear your feedback, so let us know what you think about each FAN Take!

Earlier this week, we shared a story about former TE Martellus Bennett using his star power for good. After penning a poem titled “Dear Black Boy” in 2016 following the deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, Bennett wrote a book by the same name. The book is intended to “encourage young Black boys to ‘dare, plan, work, and most essentially, dream clear of dictates, expectations or stereotypes.” There’s no doubt about it: congratulations are in order to Bennett for making history and using his voice to make a positive impact.

In the past, when celebrities have used their clout to speak on issues important to them, they are instantly told to stay in their lane (Colin Kaepernick, anyone?). But in this instance, nobody is slamming Bennett for his efforts. It could be due to not enough people knowing about his book (which would be a shame) or it could be that they actually agree with his efforts and support him.

So where’s the line between speaking out of turn and standing up for those that are marginalized? Do you think athletes, whether they’re on your team or not, should use their social standing to speak out on issues plaguing the country? Or do you think that they should stay silent on the matter? If they’re donating the time and effort to supporting causes, will that qualify them to speak on the subject at hand? Do you want your athletes to be more than a body on the field? We want to hear from you fans, because after all, you can have brains AND brawn!

Power To The Fans!

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Hollywood Says ‘No’ to Super Bowl LII

By Annalece Montgomery

There have been countless people saying they want to boycott the NFL – whether it’s for the treatment of Colin Kaepernick or their lack of enforcement of a National Anthem policy –add two more A-listers to that list: Amy Schumer and Rihanna.

In a post on her Instagram last Friday, Schumer wrote “I personally told my reps I wouldn’t do a Super Bowl commercial this year. I know it must sound like a privilege ass sacrifice but it’s all I got.” She goes on to say that by not kneeling and giving in to the NFL, athletes and other performers are becoming complicit to the inequality and racism prevalent in our country. Schumer last appeared in a Super Bowl ad with Seth Rogen in 2016.

Last month, it was announced that Maroon 5 would be headlining the Super Bowl LII Halftime Show, which garnered A LOT of mixed reactions. However, it was recently reported that the spot was offered up to them after Rihanna turned down the opportunity. Per Rolling Stone, she said no “because of the kneeling controversy. She doesn’t agree with the NFL’s stance.” There have been additional reports that following Rihanna turning the NFL down, P!nk did the same thing.

Bringing it back full circle, in the same Instagram post Amy Schumer challenged Maroon 5 to turn down the offer as well. This is normally the part where we would guess at how the fans would handle the situation, but in this situation, we want to hear from you! How do you feel about artists and actors turning down involvement in Super Bowl LII? Do you think they’re overreacting, or do you appreciate them for sticking up for what they believe in? Let us know!

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When A Brand Chooses Sides

By Annalece Montgomery

Flashback to August 2016 – Colin Kaepernick has caused a stir and a movement by deciding to kneel during the National Anthem in protest of racial injustice. Fans, athletes, coaches, team staff, and just about everyone else was divided and torn. While some were cheering on Kaepernick for making a statement, others were booing him for disrespecting those who have served in the armed forces. Following that season, he entered free agency and has not been signed to any NFL rosters, despite having 72 TDs, 12,271 passing yards, 2,300 rushing yards and a 88.9% passer rating in his career.

That brings us to yesterday, when Nike unveiled Kaepernick as the face of their “Just Do It” campaign, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. He has been with the brand since 2011, when he made his start in the NFL. Although terms of the new contract have not been publicly announced, it reportedly gives him his own branded line consisting of shoes, shirts, jerseys and more, and includes a contribution to his charity, Know Your Rights. It also puts him “in the top [pay] bracket of NFL players with Nike,” even though he isn’t currently playing in the league.

The announcement comes on the heels of arbitrator Stephen B. Burbank sending Kaepernick’s grievance with the NFL to trial, denying the league’s request to throw out claims that owners conspired to keep him out of the league because of his protests. As a reminder, Nike is the current NFL sponsor for uniforms. That’s right, not only is Nike standing for what they believe in with this campaign, but they are sending a message to their partner.

We’ve been wondering for awhile now what the fans would do if they were in charge at the NFL, but now we’re really more interested in what they would do if they were in charge at Nike. If the fans were calling the shots at Nike, not only do we think they would continue with Colin Kaepernick as the face of their 30th anniversary “Just Do It” campaign, but they would include other athletes that have faced the same criticisms. We’re talking about Eric Reid (San Francisco), Brandon Marshall (Seattle), Kenny Stills (Miami), and Seth DeValve (Cleveland), among others. While it can be more than just argued that Kaepernick has received the biggest blows as a result of his protests, we don’t think the fans would want the other athletes excluded.