Could the rumors be true? Are NFL players trying their hand in the NBA?
No, the gridiron and the hardcourt are going to stay separated for now, but the NBA store in Manhattan is inviting a few football players to take off their cleats and don sneakers in an externship program that allows them to work retail there in preparation for life after football.
Chicago Bears running back Jordan Howard and Pittsburgh Steelers backup quarterback Josh Dobbs are two of the six players who shoppers might see on Tuesday if they go to the NBA store in Manhattan, according to the New York Post.
Fanatics, the sports licensing firm that runs the NBA store as well as on-site retail at the NFL’s own stadiums, is spearheading the program, which is meant to help players prepare for the future.
“They’ll learn what it’s really like to work in a retail store,” Rebecca Kulick, director of the NFLPA externship program for Fanatics told the Post.
So, for the next three weeks, Fanatics will be hosting players as they work in its warehouses and offices as well as doing retail work. That means if you go shopping in Manhattan soon, there’s a real chance that you could run into a pro football player sweeping up or making custom jerseys.
The NFL’s efforts to reach out
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen professional sports leagues trying to put their money where their mouthguards are.
Just a few months ago, the NFL reportedly agreed to give nearly $100 million over the next seven years to social justice causes.
The deal was reached between the NFL and a coalition of about 40 players concerning causes that are important to the Black community, such as criminal justice reform and police reform.
The language in the agreement does not call on the players to stop their national anthem protests in return for the donations, though the NFL hopes that by acknowledging the protests’ root causes and taking action, they will be able to put an end to those protests.