Does The Sports Media Intentionally Promote The Narrative of The Absentee Black Father?

Young World, Young World, oh my Young World!  I’m greeting you from my favorite place on Planet Earth, The Corner Store.  I feel like the God YHWH of the Bible when it was written that he rested after putting in all of that work.  I’ve been digging in deep in regards to taking in some NFL draft coverage over the last week.  The draft was held in Philly, Pa from April 27-29 and as usual I treated it like a three day vacation from the real world cuz I can do that.

My primary mission was to see who my beloved Houston Texans were gonna add to the mix in order to help us get over the hump(Patriots) and stay competitive for the foreseeable future.  I must say that I was pretty krunk about the additions of Former Clemson QB Deshaun “National Champ” Watson in the 1st round and the 2,000 yard rusher from the University of Hook’em Horns(Texas), and Houston/Galveston area(Texas-City) native D’onta Foreman.  I didn’t know much about the other picks, but I watched their highlights and looked over the player profiles provided by two of my most trusted draft resources in Lance Zierlein and Jayson Braddock.

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d'onta

It would seem that we Texans fans have a lot to look forward to.  I believe with the acquisition of Watson, somebody has finally put a stopper at the base of our proverbial revolving door at the quarterback position.  All I have to say about that, and I’m sure that many a Texans fan will agree, is “Bout damn time!  This young man is going to do some special things in the NFL and I’m glad that he’s going to be doing it for my city’s franchise.

Many of you may have heard about Watson’s upbringing and it’s not much different than plenty of other young men that were drafted by the professional sports leagues in the US.  He was raised by a single mother in a rough area, but in contrast from most other stories, his family was blessed to receive a home that was presented to them by former NFL and Florida St Seminole(Go Noles) running back Warrick Dunn.

I sat through most of the draft and one story line became all too familiar.  Many of these young men, especially the black ones, didn’t have their father’s in their lives.  I’m not going to go into all of the social commentary on why I believe that is, and it’s nothing new since we hear the same narrative every draft season, but for whatever reason it just touched me enough this time around that I wanted to speak on it.

I decided to go at it from a different angle this time.  Today’s media is all about the click and I can’t explain why, but the clickers are drawn to the negative.  Even if it’s a feel good story like Watson’s that tells the tale of a young man that overcame all of the adversity he faced to become a highly coveted target in the 2017 NFL draft, it sometimes seems that the selling point isn’t that they conquered the issue.  It seems to me that sometimes the press wants to sensationalize the issue itself.

I’m actually starting to wonder if the majority of these athletes really did grow up without fathers in their lives or is that the only story line that the mic holders want put out?  It’s like they seek out the brothers that came from a broken home so that they can spin that angle.  I’m not saying that they make up these stories, or that they twist the words of the athletes in question, but I just feel like they seek out the hardship stories so that they can have a better story to report.

It may seem innocent, but if that’s all that, or most of what they are reporting then it leaves the viewing audience believing that growing up without a father is just part of being an African American.  Same way as when I was growing up, I thought everyone in Africa looked like the starving children in Ethiopia on those commercials who were being swarmed by flies and obviously suffering from malnutrition because that’s all I saw on TV about Africa.  That couldn’t be further from the truth. I’ve met dozens of Ethiopians and none of them look or have lived like that. I’ve met native born Africans from different parts of the continent and none of them have ever been starving like those commercials led me to believe.  True there are people starving in certain parts of Africa, but there are people starving in the 3rd Ward of Houston, Tx.  No one can paint the entire country of America as a nation of starving people because there is a pocket of the population that can’t enjoy a meal at their leisure.

I mean, I haven’t heard a lot about the quarterback that was selected by the Chiefs two slots before Watson’s name was called by my Texans(still krunk), Patrick Mahomes II.  He was raised by a black father who happened to be a professional baseball pitcher.

Don’t get me wrong, there have been articles written about Mahomes II hanging at the major league parks with his pops and there will continue to be mentions of it. I even found a quote from Kansascity.com about some jewels that the elder Mahomes dropped on his namesake.

“He gives me advice about how he transitioned into becoming a pro athlete and the work that you actually have to put into it,” Mahomes II said. “Not a lot of people see that when you’re growing up. You don’t get to see that people really have to work hard to become as good as they are. So, for me seeing that as a young age as I’ve grown up, has shown me that I have to work just as hard to get to that level.”

That’s a shining example of a Black father passing vital information onto his son.  All the stories aren’t heartbreaks and headaches.  It may just be me being sensitive, but I don’t see as much eagerness to push out stories of black fathers and sons building the kinds of bonds that result in boys growing into responsible young men.

So I’ll post a few of these positive images just to balance out all of the absentee black father imagery.

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You probably recognize most of the athletes in these photos, but there’s probably one that you don’t. The black and white picture on the left is Texans wide out Jaelen Strong with his late father “Big” John Rankin.
Here’s an interview from houstontexans.com of the latest Texans 4th round pick Juile’n Davenport.  He spoke about how spending time with his father kept him on the right path.
One of my favorite sports talk radio shows is Sports Talk 790s In The Trenches hosted by former NFL players Greg Koch and N.D. Kalu. I’ve heard N.D. speak on occasion about how his father stressed education and staying upright as a man. So I took it upon myself to reach out to brotha Kalu and ask him how his father influenced his direction and how much did it mean to him to have a father in his​ corner; especially during draft time. Here is his response.
“Man, words can’t express how much of an impact my father has had in my life.  Regarding the draft it was huge because it was such an emotional roller coaster.  Though we see so many great black men who only had their mother’s influence, for me I needed that man to teach me daily what it means to be a man through his words and actions.  I see on so many occasions when black men struggle or don’t get “their way” female like tendencies surface.  One minute I’m being told I could go as high as the 3rd round and then the next minute I’m seeing guys I knew I could out play getting their names called before mine.  Though disappointed, I still would just think about how good it was going to feel making a final roster and my dad’s words etched into my brain telling me that if I’m good enough, it won’t matter where I was drafted. Seeing how proud he was when Ray Rhodes of the Philadelphia Eagles called him and asked to speak to his son in the 5th round made all the gassers, Oklahoma drills and Bull in the Rings worth it!”
I appreciate N.D. for bringing the Trenches to the Corner Store for a few ticks and laying it down honestly like that.  Those are the type of stories that rarely see the light of day.
 Lastly I’d like to post a quote from the aforementioned, and pictured, D’onta Foremen talking about the warm moment he and his father shared when they found out that their favorite team, the Houston Texans, had drafted him in round 3 of the 2017 NFL draft.  This quote is also taken from HoustonTexans.com’s lead writer Deepi Sidhu.
“He was just smiling and saying he was so proud of me,” Foreman said. “It was pretty emotional for him, for all of us honestly – for me being drafted was a dream come true – but for me to be able to be a Texan, his favorite team, is crazy. I’m ready to get to work. I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be a great journey.”
Unfortunately there are too many stories of young black children growing up without their fathers.  I’m not interested in making any excuses or psychoanalyzing it at the moment.  I just want to say that we as black men in general have to get on the good foot and stay active in the lives of our children.  I’m absolutely positive that there are thousands of stories of us that take up the necessary time with our children, but it never makes a headline.
I’ll be the first to say that my father, my grandfather, my uncles, my older male cousins, some of my big homies, and some of my OGs played major roles in steering me in the right direction.  My goal is to do the same for my Suns, daughters, nieces, nephews, and the other ‘Lil homies that I come across on a daily basis. I’m certain someone will point out that the picture of Shaq is with his step father Phil so in essence his father wasn’t there either. I beg to differ. His father is the MAN that’s smiling right next to him. I commend a MAN who raises another man’s child when that man isn’t MAN enough to carry out his responsibility.
I’m not Elijah Muhammad or Farrakhan, but I agree when they say that it’s up to us to tighten up our own backstroke.  If there’s no pool in the hood then we need to pool our resources and build a pool.
12

Interview with Former Geto Boy DJ Ready Red

12: First of all I want to welcome my readers and my next esteemed guest to the Corner Store.  We can rap about sports and hip hop without restraints and pc red tape. So I’d like to present to my readers the former DJ of the world famous Geto Boys,  DJ Ready Red. How have you been brother?

 

RR: I’m good and can’t complain! God has been good to me!

 

12: When were you a member the legendary Geto Boys and how does it feel to be a part of the group that pioneered southern hip hop music into radios of the world?

 

RR: Feels good to be part of the foundation.  I was an early member before the legend stuff kicked off.  That era came years later.  We put Houston on Map!

 

12: The members of the group changed a few times. Can you give us the history of who was in the group before you and during your tenure? How did you become a member?

 

RR: Before me it was Sire Jukebox, K-9 & Raheem. They wrote and recorded Car Freaks in 1986.  I came to Houston in 1987 and soon hooked up with The Ghetto Boys as it was spelled in those days! Then K-9 left. Raheem went solo and a year later he would become the 1st rapper on A&M Records! Then I called my MC from Trenton,New Jersey named Prince Johnny C. He came down and joined Jukebox and myself to be the Ghetto Boys. Bushwick Bill was our hype man. We did Making Trouble which sold 100,000 and we went out on the Fat Boys Wipe Out Tour with Salt n Pepa, Dana Dane, and Ice T.

 

12: That had to be a dope experience.  I loved that Assassin record that y’all did back then.  Prince Johnny C wrecked that one royally.  Any memorable stories from the road in those early days?

 

RR: Yes playing Jack The Rapper in ATL, a Music Industry Event and catering luncheon. All the music bigwigs were in the room and we tore the roof off! That’s when it was Jukebox, Johnny C, and I !

 

12: How did you become a member?

 

RR: Entered a Dj contest at the World’s Famous Whinstone Wrangler on Murworth by The Astrodome and that’s how I met Jukebox and the late NC Trahan.

12: I heard Bun B give an interview on Boom 92 in Houston recently and the host asked him “how did DJ Screw influence your sound?” I hear non Houstonians ask stuff like this all of the time because they think Screw was the beginning of Houston Hip Hop culture. ‘Nuff respect due to and RIP to Screw, but you and I both know that this misconception ain’t no where near true. I grew up on Rap-A-Lot Music, Street Military, and SPC music. What was pre-Screw Houston Hip Hop like for you?

 

RR: It was popping.  It was progressive and to me, many were very good.  They could hang.

 

12:  I know the answer but some may not, was Screw big when you joined the Ghetto Boys?

 

RR: Not in the beginning or during my time as a Ghetto Boy /Geto Boy! But you heard his tapes all the time around Houston. Dj Screw was a very talented Dj. rip! SUC for life mane!

 

12: When did Scarface and Willie D join the group?

 

RR: After Jukebox quit and Johnny C didn’t want to do that style anymore, then came Will and Face.

 

12: I like to say that Brad Jordan is your favorite rapper’s favorite rapper’s favorite rapper.  Back when Face joined the group did you think that he would become such a respected MC?

 

RR: I saw the brilliance in all of them.  Will, Face, and Bill.

 

12: I saw a clip of you working the turntables on youtube.  It was a Grand Master Flash tribute I think.  Do you still DJ regularly?

 

RR: Yes. That’s from 2006 showing break Mixing, cutting break. I’m a Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five fanatic lol

 

12: Who were your favorite DJs when you were coming up? Any new cats you dig on now?

 

RR: Well growing up in Trenton,Nj Dj Kenny Veal was the DJ I took my lead from!

I like many styles of Djing but Hip Hop was my calling! ! I know way too many to say only a few names so I like a lot of Dj’s that’s out now!

 

12: How do you feel about the evolution of the DJing art form with the advancement of technology?

 

RR: IMO Dj’s always embraced technology. Use it wisely, don’t become a slave to it, and Don’t Hit The Sync Button lol!

 

12: This is a sports blog so I have to ask you about your favorite sport.  What sports do you follow? What teams?

 

RR: I really love Football. I’m Fan of Philly teams. Eagles ,Flyers,76’er’s

  1. I love Philly.  Philly is known for three of my favorite things; Great Music, Great Boxing tradition, and Brotherly love.  Do you keep up with Philly boxers? If so who?

RR: I used to, but Trenton New Jersey had a lot of Golden Glove Boxers that I’m friends with!

 

12: Ok. On to your Eagles. I will list some names from Eagles history and you give me your feelings on them.

  1. Coach Vermiel

 

RR: Best ever. Took a bunch of lesser known players and turned them into winners and believers in themselves.

 

  1. Ron Jaworski

 

RR: Jaws had heart The Polish Rifle

 

  1. Reggie White

 

RR: Humble and Leader on and off the field!

 

  1. Chris Carter

 

RR: I’d rather talk about Harold Carmichael # 17

 

  1. Buddy Ryan

 

RR: Knew his Defense

 

  1. Randall Cunningham

 

RR: Was very well received in Philly. Got it goin for us!

 

  1. Donovan McNabb

 

RR: Seemed like he always was day dreaming or distracted.

  1. Brian Dawkins

 

RR: Weapon X hella of a DB

 

  1. Michael Vick

 

RR: Glad he got his life together. We confused him. Does he run or drop back to pass?

 

  1. Shady McCoy

 

RR: I wish him well.

(Ready Red wanted me to mention # 31 Wilbert Montgomery when I asked him about LeSean McCoy)

 

  1. How do you feel about all of the moves that Chip Kelly is making?

 

RR: I can’t wait for this season. I’m curious myself.

 

  1. Andy Reid had a lot of success in Philly. Do you envision Chip having that same type of success?

 

RR: I believe Chip will do good or go right back to College. I hope the best.

 

  1. I appreciate you taking the time to chill with us at the Corner Store. Anything you’d like to say to the readers?


RR: Thank you for all the support and God Bless!

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12 is makin trouble

From The Trenches To The Pulpit: Interview of NFL prospect turned Christian Minister, Roderick Cantu

Many times the line between professional athletics and proselytizing the Christian faith have been crossed by the finely tuned machines that love them both. From boxing heavyweight champions like George Foreman and Evander Holyfield to football legend Reggie White and QB Tim Tebow the world’s most practiced religion has been confessed and believed by some of the biggest names in the game.  This particular relationship between religion and sports has caused ya boy 12 to invite a personal friend of mine to the corner store for an interview because his story rides this wave with the exception that he never played an NFL down.  It wasn’t because he wasn’t good enough, but to the contrary, he made the conscious choice to hang up his cleats right before his name would have been announced at Radio City Music Hall in NYC.  He instead chose to put down the playbook and pick up the prayer book.  Or was it that he was chosen to do so by the Higher power?  I’ll let my brother speak for himself.  Welcome my manz Minister Roderick Cantu to the Corner Store.

12. Peace my man.  It’s been a while since we spoke last. How have you been?
 
RC: I am doing very well man. I will be married for 12 years on September 7th. I have 2 girls, a boy, and a boy on the way in December. Our faithful marriage is one of the biggest on-going accomplishments of my life. I hope this greeting finds you well as well.
 
12: Since I’m a lover of hip hop culture I want to bite off of the movie Brown Sugar and ask you, When did you first fall in love with football?
 
RC: I think it was watching excerpts of the Luv ya blue days when Earl Campbell was a beast. He was phenmomenal…I used to pretend I was Earl not a lineman…..hence the footwork!
 
12: Yes, quick feet was your trademark. I remember when you were a freshman and sophomore at Cypress Falls.  I used to tell everyone that you would make it to the league because you were the hardest working dude that I’ve ever seen.  When I arrived  in the weight room you were already there.   When I got to the track to run you were already running laps and bleachers. Where did that work ethic come from?
 
RC: I think that I wanted the NFL so bad that even then I knew that If I out worked people my natural gifts would give me a chance. I just didn’t want anyone to be better than me. I took it personal. I always got a bad feeling in my stomach when I thought someone was being rated higher than myself.
 
12: Me too. That’s why you always saw me coming into the weight room and on the track when you were already there. lol. How was your time at McNeese St?  Any good stories about that squad you played on?
 
 RC: I loved it at McNeese they treated football players very well and fed us good. Lake Charles loved us. It’s a unique town that gets really excited about their team. The thing that sticks with me most about the squad that went to the National Championship was that it wasn’t because we dominated every game. It was the fact that so many things went our way that season. If you create your own luck….. we created a lot that year. Don’t get me wrong we were very talented, but very fortunate as well.  
 
12: My momz is from Lake Charles. Maybe that’s why I love the sport so much.  Plus growing up in Texas didn’t make it any easier not to love the game. What position did you play and did you get any interest from pro scouts?  
 
RC: I played Right Guard and started all four years from my red-shirt freshman year. I was second team all-conference my sophomore and junior year ( I should have been first team my junior year), and I was 1st team my Senior year.
 
12: I know that there’s a misconception from some potential student athletes, and people in general, that the smaller schools don’t get NFL scout representation so they feel like they have to go to major universities to get a shot at the NFL.  How do you feel about that?
 
RC: It’s not true. If you’re good enough they find you. A Miami Dolphins scout and Jet scout talked to me before and after practice during my senior regular season. If you’re special it shows no matter where you’re at.
 
12. I agree.  I remember seeing scouts at Sam Houston St practices all of the time when we were out there getting after it.  After hearing about San Diego State’s Adam Muema leaving the NFL combine because he said that God told him to, I immediately thought about you.  The word in the hood(we are from the same neighborhood btw) was that you had a shot at the NFL but decided to follow a calling from God that you received to go into the ministry.  I know how rumors can get the actual story all twisted so I would like for you to tell us what the real story is.
 
RC: The truth is I was becoming something that was not consistent with Christ like character, and that coupled with the calling of ministry on my life just wasn’t comfortable. Jesus Christ is my savior and I felt a nudge to go a different direction. I stopped all contact with agents and didn’t enter the draft. Some people thought I was crazy. I don’t think I would have been a high draft pick, but I do think I would have got my chance. And you know me. Once there I would have outworked everybody. The only solace I have is knowing that I played against guys who were drafted and I dominated them.
 
12:  You know that I have nothing but love and respect for you bro, but I thought that you were crazy too.  Out of the few of us that I knew could make it to the league, you were one of them.  I messed my chance up to go D1.  I would have outworked all of those super talented cats too but it wasn’t for me I guess. I’ll write about that later.  I do respect the fact that you stuck to your guns and made the best decision that you had to make for you. Anyways, where do you see yourself in the future?  Did your years playing football, or sports in general, help you develop any of the skills that are required to accomplish any of your future goals? 
 
RC: I will have my Masters in Organizational leadership soon, and I currently secure programming for at-risk youth. I want to have a youth/life skills center with a sanctuary in it for church services. I plan on seeing my 9 year old boy play for Manchester United one day so that will take up a lot of my time. He is a better athlete than me. I think the confidence gained from accomplishing football goals has bled over into every aspect of my life as well as the passion and hard work.
 
12.  Thanks for taking the time to lay it out there for us brother.  You have always been one of my favorite people because of the way you worked for what you wanted.  Really inspiring man.  Is there anything you want the world to know about Roderick Cantu that we haven’t discussed already? 
 
RC:  I encourage men to be men of integrity in all their  dealings. The future of  our families and nation depend on it.
 
12: If you have anything that you would like to pub here’s your chance. Where can you be reached online?    
 
RC: rod.cantu@ymail.com
 
12: Once again I appreciate you for hanging out and rapping with ya bro 12 at The Corner Store.  I put the energy out there that all of your aspirations are met because you deserve it.  One luv.
 
Til next time, 12

Interview with 3x World Boxing Champion Reggie “Sweet” Johnson: Is it Canelo vs Lara or Cuba vs Mexico world cup 2?

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Tonight marks the night that all of the talking will be brought to a head.  Bank accounts, popularity, reputations, promoters, hardship stories, or who beat common opponents in greater fashion won’t mean a thing in the ring.  The only thing that will squash the talk and settle the beef is who brings it tonight and ” throws them thangs” the best like we say on the block.  I never saw Lara fight before seeing his face on the promo poster in Mission Tx a few weeks ago so I pulled up some of his fights on demand and youtube.  I liked what I saw from Lara.  He does not have the one punch bomb type power, but he causes accumulative damage throughout the duration of the fight.  Against El Perro Angulo Lara was dropped twice by powerful left hooks that dazed him, but didn’t finish him off.  He, on the other hand, applied steady south paw jabs and straight left hands to Angulo’s face all night until Angulo’s orbital bone cracked over the top of his left eye and caused El Perro to turn his back on the action signaling to the ref that he could no longer continue.

The Austin Trout match was more of a technical chess match between two south paw counter punchers.  Lara used his patience and Cuban school training to lure Trout out of his comfort zone by making him be more offensively aggressive than he normally likes to be.  Lara dropped Trout with a mean right left 2 piece that sent the usually stout chinned Trout to the canvas in a James Brown styled split in the 11th round.  HAAAAYYYYY! GOOD GOD!

Canelo had the opposite amount of difficulty although the red head emerged victorious in both fights.  He dominated Angulo for the entirety of the fight causing the ref to step in after an uppercut landed flush against Angulo’s chin.  Trout, however, gave Alvarez trouble in the later rounds after being wobbled and dropped by a straight right to the mouth.  I’m more than sure that this is exactly what Canelo wants to do to Lara in order to shut him up. Even though Trout was obviously hurt by the shot that sent him to the canvas for the 1st time in his previously undefeated career he got up to hand some really good shots on Canelo causing some ,including Trout, to think that the match should have been judged a draw.  I personally think that the knock down swung the decision Canelo’s way.  No controversey here.

Enough of my thoughts.  I’m not as qualified to discuss the sweet science as my distinguished guest and 1st time visitor to the Corner Store is.  Introducing The 3x World Champion Reggie “Sweet” Johnson.  He was gracious enough to grant me an interview in regards to his feelings about tonight’s fight.

12: Saturday July 12th is the date that Saul Canelo Alvarez and Erislandy Lara face off in a much anticipated junior middleweight showdown. I think the different styles will make this an interesting fight. How do you feel about the Alvarez- Lara matchup?

RJ: I think it is an Awesome match up and will be a plus to boxing and the fans will be well pleased.

12: Who does Canelo remind you of as a fighter? What about Lara?

RJ: Canelo reminds me of Vargas.. Lara reminds me of a little of Vernon Forest but with less power.

12: Both fighters come from countries that are very passionate about their boxing champions. Mexico and Cuba have reputations for having tough skillful fighters that don’t turn away from a fight. do you think that this fight will turn into a good old fashioned World Cup brawl at any point?

RJ: I think this will turn out to be the classic boxer beating the slugger or the classic slugger beating the boxer.

12: This is the biggest fight of Lara’s career, outside of his fight to split from the Cuban government, how do you think he will respond?

RJ: I think he will deliver in great fashion.

12: I would love to see Canelo fight Miguel Cotto or Maidana. What do you see in the future for Canelo if he wins? Who do you think he should fight?

RJ: Likewise as a matter of fact I would love to see the winner of this fight take on Miguel Cotto or Maidana.

12: Lara had said that after he disposes of Alvarez, he will take out Floyd Mayweather. What do you think about that sentiment? Who do you think he should fight next if he wins?

RJ: I think he should fight the man that will secure him the most security (MONEY), which is Mayweather.

12: Angulo knocked Lara down twice. Do you think that he fall victim to Canelo’s power?

RJ: When that bell ring the square circle becomes the arena of the unexpected. Anything can happen. Lara got up twice and got the job done against Angulo which means Canelo’s power will be challenged and tested as well.

12: Canelo had problems keeping up with Mayweather’s movement/foot speed and defense. Lara has similar traits. Do you think he will be too tricky for Saul to figure out?

RJ: I think if Lara takes Canelo into the late rounds he will win. Canelo must get to Lara early to win this fight. Lara’s skill set enables him to win this fight easy after 8 rounds.

12: Lara trains in Houston, Texas, our hometown, with Ronnie Shields.  Have you had a chance to meet him?  Are you familiar with Shields? What do you think he brings to the table as a trainer?

RJ: Yes I’ve been to their gym and I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Lara .  Ronnie shields is every fighter that he trains secret weapon. I’ve been knowing Ronnie since I started boxing at the age of 12 and he was a great fighter as well.

12: Lastly, what is your prediction for this fight?

RJ: This is a tough fight to call but being a smart man in the ring I must go with the smart man. I like Lara in a upset 12 round split decision.

12: Thank you for your time and for stopping by the Corner Store to chop it up with your boy 12 Champ. We’ll be in touch again soon.

12 is dippin out.

Throwback pic of 3x World Champion Reggie "Sweet" Johnson and Lara's Trainer Ronnie Shields.

Throwback pic of 3x World Champion Reggie “Sweet” Johnson and Lara’s Trainer Ronnie Shields.

Interview of Former Green Bay Packers Receiver Chris Francies

12: Let’s start this off by saying that I’ve known you since you were born and I never knew that you would grow up to play football. I knew you played basketball at the park a lot, but when did you begin to love football?

Chris: I want to say that I began to love football when I was a junior in high school.  The reason for that is that it was more physical than basketball. Plus there was more love playing football. I was getting more recognition from colleges playing football than basketball. I knew I had a better chance of going to college for football than basketball even if it was a D2 or D3.

 12: Following the first question, I heard that you were playing receiver at Cy-Falls in Houston, Tx and the next thing that knew you were on TV catching touch downs from Jordan Palmer. What was your experience like at UTEP?

Chris: That was one of the best experiences that I could have had for myself. Every person should have the chance to go to college. I learned so much about myself. I met lots of different people from all over the world. The one thing I regret is not taking advantage of the city life. I really did not grasp what El Paso had to offer. Football and school consumed a lot your attention and time.

 12: You were a very quiet person as a youth. Are you still as quiet, and was it difficult to function in a sport that many of the players are boisterous braggers?

Chris: I would say I am a little bit more voice stress now. The thing about me, I talked more on the field than I did when I was off the field. Sometimes you have to let guys know that you mean business. Off the field I would lead more by example than words. People say a lot of things but rarely do what they say they are going to do. 

 12: I know that you played for the Green Bay Packers. Were there any other teams that you tried out for or did you know that Wisconsin was your destination all along? Nah, Green Bay was the one team that gave me the chance. I came in as a free agent. I had to work extra hard every day to be up with the top guys that got drafted. I did not think in a thousand years that I would be good enough to play pro ball. I figured once I finished college I was going to go be a biologist somewhere.

 12: How did it feel to catch passes from the legendary Bret Favre? Is his arm as strong as advertised? What kind of person was he in the locker room/ practice field?

Chris: It was an honor to catch a pass from him. I can say that I am one of the few players who actually caught a pass from him. His arm is as strong as they say. The thing that got me is when he would throw those no look passes. Talking about scary, yikes! In the locker room he kept to himself, got dressed in the coaches’ locker room. On the field he was a clown, rarely took things serious but at the same time got the job done when it needed to be.

 12: Aaron Rodgers was waiting in the wings on that Packer team while you were there. Did you interact with him? Could you tell that he was going to be as good as he is?

Chris: I knew Aaron was going to be good; he just needed some time to play and get adjusted to things. The passes he would throw on the field were incredible. How he would fit the ball in small spaces and it was mind blowing. He had a few gatherings at his house that I would attend.

 12: How was it to play in the same position group as future Hall of Famer Donald Driver?

Chris: Driver is one of those down to earth guys.  He was always willing to help out if need be. He was amazing to watch and learn from. His determination and drive made him the player he was.

 12: After your release from the Packers you spent some time with the Saints, and 49ers before playing in the AFL. How was the AFL different in style from the NFL?

Chris: The Afl, was a fast pass, short field, and high scoring game. It’s like playing 7 on 7, with pads. I liked playing in the AFL. They could’ve paid a little more. 

 

12: What lessons have you learned from playing football and how has it helped you in your life?

Chris: Football is strictly a business. NFL, means not for long. On average a guy plays in the NFL for three years, so there is a lot of turnover in the game. It is a cut throat business.  They are always looking for the next best thing. I am glad I had the opportunity to experience the NFL.  It has opened up doors that a normal civilian would not be able to walk through. I can say that I played in the NFL.

 12: What direction is Chris Francies heading in life?

Chris: My path now in life, I would sum it up as, a path to teaching people about God and his ways. What I mean is, most people are lost in their own way and looking for what their purpose is in life. Life is more than how much money we make, what kind of job we have, where we live, and what your social status is. Living for God is what I’m about now. 

 

12: Is there anything that you want to let the people know about you that we didn’t cover?

Chris: Life is too short to dwell on what you don’t have. Enjoy what you do have and appreciate it.  

Well young man, I can say that I’m proud of what you have accomplished thus far in your life and 12(Me!) was the 1st rock star receiver that played for the Falls. All of you cats get in line. LOL. Many blessings ahead for you and your family Mr Francies.ImageImage