It took Sheila Ford Hemp about a second to respond when asked about the potential of women in key roles in the NFL.
“The sky is the limit that women want to make,” said Hemp, chief owner of the Detroit Lions.
Deal Haslam, co-owner of the Cleveland Browns, responded to that statement.
“We see more and more women who love sports and want a sports career. The door opened wide, և I’m so excited. “I look forward to the moment when we will not have to talk about how we open the door to women of color, that the door is open.”
At the Football Forum late last month, 40 young women’s potential pro-football staff members taking part in the league’s fifth-year careers accepted those words. Although it was a virtual first time due to the COVID-19 epidemic, the forum message sounded loud and clear.
No more than listening to Hemp, who before last season took over the lions from his mother, Martha Ford և Haslam, who, along with her husband Jim Imi, belong to the Browns.
Hemp told a story about women’s opportunities decades ago.
“When I graduated from college, all I wanted to do was go to work in the NFL. “I loved football and grew up with it,” he said. “I really knew Commissioner Pete Rosell. My father took me to league matches, I had the opportunity to sit next to him at dinner, we became a kind of friend, he was impressed by how much the girl loves football.
“When I finished it, I went to see her, she really tried, I liked her, but she could not think of anything a woman could do in the NFL.”
That, of course, was decades ago. Now, as Haslam points out, there are influential women at every level of the league, from interns to spies, coaches, assistants, coaches, executive offices and chambers of property. Indeed, Buffalo, Inc., Denver, Houston, Indianapolis, Tennessee, Chicago, New Orleans, and San Francisco also have women owners or women who make key decisions at the highest team levels.
The league office has a similar make-up on every step of the way.
“The mountain of women in the room who now owns it continues to grow. It is really exciting,” Haslam said. “There are some young women in the room, which is fantastic.
“As more and more women are there doing the work at such a literate level, it will simply continue to grow. Just getting your foot in the door, especially in the NFL, is what you need to start doing. Whatever comes your way, do it better than anyone in the room, other opportunities will come your way. ”
Hemp mentioned how communication lines should be open, regardless of the job or the people involved. As an example, he noted that the Lions did not have a locker room for some women on the football team. He quickly fixed it.
“It may seem small, but it’s huge,” said Hemp. “It means ‘you are important to us.’
“You have to have an organization that people can talk about so that they can give you ideas, not be afraid to talk about it. Listen to our employees, understand that we are all with this, we all want to put this into action. ”
More AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL և https://twitter.com/AP_NFL