I am not an NFL WAG, but -- as a longtime NFL professional -- I can relate to the mission of WAGS Redefined. So can NFL Female, a forum for diehard football fans who just happen to be women. That is why they reached out to WAGS Redefined founder LeShonda Martin for an interview on their weekly podcast. Dayna, the site's Seattle Seahawks reporter, spoke with LeShonda about her mission for the site, common misconceptions of NFL WAGS, and Sunday's Super Bowl.
- On the stereotype of NFL WAGS
- "I went to college at a top-20 school, I have my master's, I have started my own businesses, I worked in athletic administration, I have a career of my own and I've always been a career-minded woman. I know NFL WAGS who are lawyers, doctors, (personal trainers), and stay-at-home moms. Either way (the NFL is) a job. No one's just sitting around doing nothing and waiting for their man to come home. Like I said, there's a lot of things that I think just aren't highlighted in the media. It's not fair from where I'm sitting, so that's why I set out to change it."
- On the biggest challenges of being an NFL family
- I want to start talking about some of the realities of free agency on the website and write from a personal perspective. My husband and I have gone through this the past couple of years. He was drafted to the Panthers in 2009 and played for them for four years, but the past couple of years he's switched teams. We just finished up with the Bears this past season. But it can be very difficult, just the uncertainty. I know of some families that start the year in one city and if you have kids it becomes 10 times harder. You start your kids in school one city and then they finish up in another.
- But just the uncertainty and even for those families who are fortunate enough to have multi-year deals, even that is not a sure thing. I know of a couple of cases with some of my friends where they had a three-, four-year contract, but it just didn't work out that way and they were on to the next team. I would say just to speak to the difficulties, the uncertainty, and being away from one another during training camp or if you do have someone who has a job - you're a significant other and you have a job in a certain city and your man has to go off, you're traveling back and forth. I know some of the wives that never move with their husbands - they call themselves weekend wives - and even travel with a newborn baby back and forth so the father can see their child. But those are some of the difficulties.
- On the public scrutiny
- Just like any public figure, it's tough to be judged in the media. No one likes to be spoken about negatively. It does come with the territory. It is part of my mission to change the way NFL women and men are spoken about in terms of their personal lives. It's one thing to go after these players for what they do on the field - I get it. But I'd just like to see some of the personal attacks go away.
- On the WAGS Redefined Super Bowl 50 ticket giveaway
- We saw some creative dances out there and then, from that, we put it on our Facebook and the top four videos with the most votes went on to round two, and then round two was an email submission where you had to answer why are you an NFL fan and why you deserve to win. The lady who won, she just emailed me today and told me that she received the tickets, but I feel really great about her going. She is a die-hard football fan, NFL fan, Panthers fan, and she actually helped to grow a women's football league out there in California and is working to redefine the stereotypes of women who play football as well. It was really cool to have that connection and to send somebody who really wants to go. She's actually going to do a write-up and take photos while she's there, so look out for her recap on the site.
You can listen to the full interview on NFLFemale.com.