This week's WAG feature is a special edition, featuring the daughter of a high profile NFL and MLB player. I was introduced to the sweet, funny, and charismatic Morgan Jackson through a Facebook friend (look at social media)! Since Morgan lives in Chicago, I was able to interview her while visiting my husband for a week. She also accompanied me to a Bears game! We discussed growing up in the NFL, family, and her future plans. Read more on Morgan below!
NFL WAG Stats
Name: Morgan Jackson
Father: Bo Jackson
Years father played in NFL: 6
Cities You've Lived in with NFL/MLB: Kansas City, Los Angeles, Chicago
Off Season Home: Back and forth from Kansas City to LA until dad went to Chicago
Favorite Food: French fries (Portillos has great cheese fries)
Music on iTunes Playlist: Kanye West, Drake, Rihanna, Beyonce, Nikki Minaj, Chris Brown, Biggie
Hobbies: Fitness and working out; shopping; writing (my favorite would have to be short stories); movie freak (favorite movies are scary)
Interesting Facts: Graduated from Auburn with degree in English/Professional and Public Writing and Minor in Communications; I like writing and being creative
My dad’s story is pretty awesome, but I have a story too." - Morgan Jackson, NFL Daughter
LM: Do people often introduce you as Bo Jackson’s daughter? How does that make you feel?
MJ: Yes, and that is SO ANNOYING! If you look at my birth certificate I promise you it does not say Bo Jackson’s daughter. It says Morgan. I have a name!
LM: Where are you from originally and how did you get to where you are now?
MJ: I was born in Kansas City. My dad was playing with the Royals at that time. We moved to Chicago when I was one. When my dad was finished with the Sox, my parents stayed in Chicago. My parents and I are all still here [in Chicago].
LM: Tell me about your mom and dad.
MJ: They met in college at Auburn. It’s funny because at first my mom didn’t want to date him. She’s a doctor so she probably thought she was going to marry another doctor or a lawyer. My dad ended up chasing her for months. He would just see her around campus and go up and speak to her and probably annoy her and eventually she gave in. It’s been love ever since. They’ve been married almost 30 years.
LM: What is your family dynamic like? Has the dynamic changed from the years when your dad played until now?
MJ: Well, when my dad was playing, my mom did a lot of the raising. I have an older brother named Garrett and another brother named Nicholas. My mom stopped working while my dad was playing and focused on raising the three of us. When my dad retired, it was both of them hands on 24-7 and I loved that. It was sad when he stopped playing but I loved having him around. My mom went right back to work when my dad stopped playing. She works at Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.
LM: Are you close with your siblings?
MJ: They are my heart and soul. Garrett lives in Chicago and does PR and Marketing. Nicholas is an engineer in Alabama. My family is really close. There has never been a holiday where we’ve been apart. We always spend holidays at my parents' house.
LM: Who is your role model?
MJ: When it comes to schoolwork, my mom. She never had a "B", went to college when she was 16, and made straight A’s all the way through school. We wanted to be like her in school because she was super smart. When it comes to sports and motivational stuff, my dad is the role model. He was raised in poverty and he made it out of that. When he was a kid, he was really bad. People expected him to go to jail. He was a bully. He got into fights. Kids used to tease him because he had a stuttering problem. His grades weren’t that great either. My grandma told him to raise his grades and behave. He didn’t start playing sports until high school. When he started playing, he realized how good he was and became really passionate about it, and that carried him through college and onto professional sports.
LM: Many people all around the world refer to your dad as the greatest athlete ever. What do you think of him?
MJ: I think he’s the greatest dad ever.
LM: How sweet! What makes him the greatest dad ever?
MJ: He’s really funny! People always say he’s like Bernie Mac. If you've seen that show, you’ve seen my dad.
LM: Are you a mommy’s girl or daddy’s girl?
MJ: I’m both but slightly more a daddy’s girl.
LM: Let’s talk more about what you’re doing these days. Tell me about your position now.
MJ: I work at Bo Jackson’s Elite Sports Complex. I’m the Communications Director and a Camp Counselor in the summer when we have youth sports camps. I conduct interviews, post on our blog, operate the website and manage videos. Those are my main responsibilities. I do anything that has to do with writing also.
LM: How did professional athletics play a role in your childhood?
MJ: Well, I was an athlete myself. I did gymnastics, track and cheerleading. When it came to track, there was actually a lot of pressure because people expected me to be like my dad. That extra pressure did help me to become better though. I would think, “Well, I can’t lose and let these people down.” Losing is like the worst thing to me.
LM: I can relate. How long did you play each sport?
MJ: I did gymnastics for eight or nine years, cheerleading all four years of high school, and ran track for nine years as a sprinter (100, 200, 4x1, and long jump). I decided not to run track past high school because I actually got sick of the comparisons to my dad.
LM: What were the pros and cons of being the daughter of such a legendary athlete?
MJ: Pros – My dad’s awesome so I’ll always have tapes and videos to watch of him. I can show my kids and say, “This is your grandpa! He was pretty awesome.” We have the opportunity to meet celebrities and other professional athletes. It’s funny because when we meet celebrities, they go crazy over my dad. One of my dad’s biggest fans was Will Smith! I just think that’s funny because my siblings and I look at him like, “Oh my gosh that’s Will Smith!” But Will Smith felt that way about meeting my dad. When people find out who we are, we usually get free stuff so that’s nice. My dad is still sponsored by Nike and that’s a plus. The life that we live is a blessing. When my brothers and I were younger we had the chance to go to Europe for an entire summer.
Cons – The judgment. When people find out who I am they automatically assume I’m spoiled and a brat. That’s understandable and I get it. Another frustrating thing is the assumption that I don’t have problems. I’d be so stressed with school and work in college and I’d hear, “You’re Bo Jackson’s daughter. Your life is great. You need to stop complaining.” Oh, and relationships! Whether it’s boys or girls, I generally don’t know if they’re truly there for me or they just want to get close to my dad. I’ve had a few boys in my life who were gold diggers and only wanted to meet my dad. Another con is the rumors. People try to start rumors about me because they’re jealous of me or petty things like that. The most important and last con is that I have to be very careful of what I do or say at all times because I’m under a microscope. I’m so blessed to have the life I do, but I really have to be cautious. In college, I could not go out and be wasted at the bar because then everyone would be say, “Bo Jackson’s daughter is at the bar and she’s wasted!” I always had to think twice, and that isn’t bad but sometimes I wanted to be a normal kid.
LM: You went to Auburn. That’s where your dad went so…
MJ: So all eyes were on me no matter what I did. One time I was shopping and my friend texted me and asked if I was at Target. I told her that I was. She said, “Some guy took a picture of you and posted it on the Internet and said how he just saw Bo Jackson’s daughter at Target.”
LM: Why’d you go to Auburn?
MJ: I applied to many schools but Auburn is like our second home. We go there for all the football games. Both my parents are from Alabama. All of my family is there. My God family was up the street from me at Auburn. All of that was very comforting and influenced my decision.
LM: What is your favorite memory with your dad or family?
MJ: My favorite memory is still when we went to Europe for the whole summer when I was 11 or 12 years old. That was awesome! We were able to experience a lot of places like London, Paris, Germany and Spain. That was a very fun vacation that I will never forget!
LM: What is your advice to women or families in the NFL?
MJ: Don’t let what other individuals say get to you, especially the outsiders. People are always gonna talk, trash talk, and start rumors. You don’t need to listen to them. I remember when my mom told me a story about my dad. Out of college, my dad chose to play baseball. After baseball season, he decided that he was going to play football too. My mom tells me people were like, “Who does he think he is? He’s not all that! He’s trying to be a show off.” Many people would talk trash about him because he wanted to play two sports. When he actually did it, then it was like the entire nation was a Bo Jackson fan.
LM: Did you notice a difference between families in the MLB and NFL?
MJ: To be honest, I feel like baseball families are closer than football families. I just see a little more togetherness in baseball.
LM: What sport would you want your kids to play?
MJ: I want kids. I want two boys. They’re both going to be baseball players. [Laughs]
LM: What are your hobbies?
MJ: I like going to sporting events. I love going to Bulls games and White Sox games here in Chicago. I go to the Blackhawks (hockey) games as well. I like sports in general and love the environment. I enjoy working out too. I’m more of a cardio girl. Oh, and shopping!
LM: What is your ultimate career goal?
MJ: I want to have my own talk show. I would love to have a show like Ellen. She brings celebrities on her show but also normal, local people who are doing great things. I want to give away prizes like Oprah does. I want to give back, interview the stars, interview local people, and just allow them to tell their stories.
LM: Have you made any progress towards accomplishing that goal?
MJ: I’m trying right now. My dad knows the President of NBC. I emailed him today. I would love to work for a talk show. I would want to work for the Steve Harvey Show here in Chicago. If I could get an internship there or even hired there, I would be so grateful! I have to see the behind-the-scenes of a talk show and take notes on what to do and what not to do. My favorite talk show ever was Tyra’s! I’m so mad it’s no longer on air. I used to rush home from school to watch her talk show.
LM: What made Tyra’s show so great in your eyes?
MJ: First of all, it’s Tyra. She’s so cute and energetic. When you think of supermodels, many of them don’t have the best attitudes but Tyra was so outgoing and always trying to help the community. I loved how she always had young topics because growing up, I couldn’t watch everything Oprah talked about. Oprah talked about some adult things. Anyone could watch Tyra and you'd always learn a lesson. I think Tyra is the reason why I wanted to have my own talk show. She will be my first guest when that time comes.
LM: What’s the most important advice your mom or dad has given you?
MJ: Since I am my dad’s baby girl it’s always been: “Don’t ever let anybody, especially a man, disrespect you or bring you down.” He literally tells me that everyday. My mom has given me so much advice. I guess it would just be to follow your dreams! When I first went to college, I wanted to be a speech therapist and get into the medical field but I wasn’t happy in it. My mom said, “Do what you love. You’re not doing this for us. Do what YOU want to do. If it’s not making you happy, you’re going to have a miserable life.”
LM: What would you like people to know about you?
MJ: That’s a good one. I’ve never been asked that. I guess that I’m more than Bo Jackson’s daughter. I have a story too. Literally today at work I heard that: “You’re Bo Jackson’s daughter!” <span "font-size:11.0pt;="" font-family:helvetica;mso-bidi-font-family:helvetica"="">My dad’s story is pretty awesome, but I have a story too.
LM: How many times would you say you’ve heard that (Bo Jackson’s daughter)?
MJ: I’ve heard it at least a million times.
LM: What would you like people to know about NFL families or the NFL lifestyle?
MJ: It’s not as glamorous as people think it is. When I was in high school and college, other students would say, “I bet y’all got Bentleys and do all these lavish things,” and I’m thinking to myself NO! More money more problems. I promise you. I know so many people who have made it big who say that. I’m blessed. I’ve never had to struggle, but with that money comes a lot of problems and responsibilities. There were plenty of times in my life when I looked at my dad and thought, "Why couldn’t you have been a teacher? Why couldn’t you have been normal?"
LM: Anything else you would like to add?
MJ: My brothers and I work! I worked at Footlocker in the mall and with the Auburn Athletic Department during college. People would always come in to the Athletic Office and look at me and say, “Aren’t you Bo’s daughter? Why do you have a job? You’re rich.” I would always think, “I’m not anything because none of that money is mine! I don’t know what bank account you're talking about because mine has zero dollars in it.” I think it’s funny because if I didn’t have a job, they’d be like Morgan is a spoiled brat who lives off daddy! When I have a job, I receive push back for it. I attended college to get a degree and to work. Both my parents work. When I get married, my husband and I will both work.
LM: Speaking of husband, what do you like to see in a man?
MJ: Loyalty is a must! Ambition is a must. He has to have ambition. If he doesn’t have a dream that he is actively pursuing, I can’t see myself being with him.
LM: Okay, so who’s your celebrity crush?
MJ: I have plenty of them [Laughs]. I have a huge crush on Jimmy Butler. He plays for the Bulls. If I saw him in person I’d probably pass out. I also think one of the Bears players is cute. I have a small crush on Kyle Fuller.
LM: Last question. Which do you like better, baseball or football?
MJ: That’s hard. Football.
Good choice, Ms. Jackson! See you around Chi-town.