“Once you know some things, you can't unknow them. It's a burden that can never be given away.” —Alice Hoffman, Incarnation
I am seldom contrarian, but I believe the American playwright and author Alice Hoffman got it wrong. While I agree that once you know, you cannot not know and I concur—it is a burden—I would argue it can be given away. In fact, I have to give it away! Why? I don't know what else to do with it.
Let that serve as my warning 49er fans. If you want to keep the Eagles—the enemy in this Sunday's NFC Championship game at arms length—please stop reading here and now.
In preparation of the NFC Championship in the City of Brotherly love, here in the Bay Area, local sports talk radio can't help but debrief and dig up the dirt on our opponents. The Eagles are the divisional favorites and hoping to secure what would be their first NFC title since 2018. Philadelphia and San Francisco have only played one time against each other in the playoffs—and it was way back in 1996. The Eagles lost to the 49ers, 14-0, in the wild card round of the playoffs.
QB1 for the Birds, Jalen Hurts is one of five finalists for this season's MVP. Chosen as the 53rd player overall in the 2020 draft, the team is undefeated this season when Hurts has started the game. I listened to stat after stat about this offensive weapon for Philly and then something unexpected came my way: Hurts surrounds himself with an all-women team.
What? Did I hear that right? Last time I heard about an all woman team, it was from Coach Muffet McGraw. She was highly lauded and heavily criticized for pronouncing she would not hire another man on her coaching staff.
As written in the New York Times, “When these girls are coming out, who are they looking up to to tell them that’s not the way it has to be?” McGraw continued. “Where better to do that than in sports? All these millions of girls that play sports across the country, we’re teaching them great things about life skills, but wouldn’t it be great if we could teach them to watch how women lead?”
"Enough of the declining percentage of women coaching women’s basketball teams. Enough of the limited female representation in Congress. Enough of confining gender roles. Enough of the gender pay gap." In short Muffet McGraw has had enough.
For Hurts, the decision to hire women was born out of respect and admiration for the example set by his mom and sister AND a DM from Nicole Lynn, his agent.
As written by Brandon Sneed in, Jalen Hurts Hopes to Inspire Change With His All-Women Team
Lynn went to OU law school and her husband played football there, years before Hurts. Before becoming a Sooner, Hurts won a national championship with Alabama; Lynn already represented about a dozen Crimson Tide alumni, including offensive tackle Quinnen Williams, the highest drafted player in the school’s history. Lynn also lives in Houston, where Hurts is from.
“All this synergy,” she recalls now. So she fired off the DM on impulse. “I didn’t expect him to even see it.”
Hurts saw it; he was still in the process of finding an agent. “I wanted to hear her out,” he says now.
Hurts cared about her résumé, her experience and how he trusted her. He thought: What the hell else mattered? “People are going to doubt her because she’s a woman in this industry,” he says. “There was a sense of doubt. Why is she doing this? Can she represent a quarterback? What’s she going to do with him?”
That decision was the first of many others in what Eagles fans hope is a long, healthy and successful career.The Sports Illustrated piece adds
As Hurts began laying the groundwork for his career, he hired women to run his life around football. Choosing Lynn as his agent was just the start. From media relations to marketing to brand client services support, women run things for him across the board. “I’ve put a lot of trust and faith in a female-driven team,” he says, pointing to Lynn and naming others such as Chantal Romain, Shakeemah Simmons-Winter and Jenna Malphrus on his media relations and client services management team, along with Rachel Everett, who handles some of his marketing.
Hurts doesn’t usually voice his opinions or engage in the discourse of the day; he prefers to focus on football. But seeing what he’s seen, and thinking about his sister coming up as an athlete, and simply growing up and becoming more aware of how many people in the world treat women—well, he wants to add his voice to that conversation. “My goal in speaking out on this is to advocate for and support the investment in women in sports,” he says.
Muffet McGraw happens to be from Philly. If there's something in the water, we need more of it. All I know is I heard the story. I read it. I have nothing on Hurts. I truly respect his principles and values; I cannot help but applaud the decisions he has made. Dang it. It's always easier when you dislike your opponent.
|Check out the video for yourself. Type in Jalen Hurts 600|
I cannot say I will be cheering for him (or his team) this Sunday—but this is something I learned...something I cannot unknow....and for those of us involved in sports and fans of sports: it must be given away.
Jalen et al