Sometimes people don’t understand why I’m ‘working’ in sports, and I do my best to summarize the past five years in a way that allows them to make sense of it all. When I look around, realize I am actually living in Southern Nevada, moved from my home all because of Twitter, and the amazing power for social media, sometimes it can be overwhelming to me, too. It helps to remember the reasons I’m here, and just what inspired me to travel this road.
In 2012, I was working toward my doctorate of philosophy in public policy administration with a specialization in law. At that time I was not working, other than advocacy work with the courts. Partly because, I had chosen to stay home to raise my son back in 1998, after he was diagnosed with permanent brain damage and because in 2000, I had separated from my son’s dad, and he moved to Texas, which has no state tax. Before my son was born, I was a Vice President for an international brokerage firm and specialized in risk management. I was involved in consulting about directors and officers liability and employment practices liability. Returning to my career, while my son was little, was not practical and his dad’s residency in a no state-tax state, made it nearly impossible for me to earn an income that did not penalize us. Basically, his income would be taxed more than I would earn.
So while my son was young, I went back to school. I earned an undergraduate degree in criminal justice, a master’s degree from Boston University in the same field, and went on to work toward my PhD. The reasons I chose this field had much to do with my desire to understand brain trauma, policing and domestic violence. BU was studying brains for deceased NFL players, and the NYPD had a football team. I was witnessing first hand, what I felt was an under appreciated variable, that being brain trauma, in domestic violence and other violent crimes.
The NFL became involved in a much-publicized lawsuit, involving concussion issues, which many thought attributed to propensity toward violence. Others felt they triggered Lou Gehrig’s disease. I became immersed in my studies.
My brother was hosting a radio program dealing with sports here in Las Vegas. I was a huge Raiders fan, and became aware of a former Oakland Raider, Stephen Smith, who had played college ball at Penn State, as well. He had been diagnosed with ALS. I asked my brother if I could share about the go-fund me page set up to help the player.
Cantor Gaming sponsored my brother’s show, at that time. He was also doing a program on SXM radio about fantasy sports. My brother felt it would be best if I used social media to share about the go fund me page. I was happy to, and also decided to use that forum to market his show. I did not use sexy photos to market the show, until competing stations accused me of being a robot and/or a man posing as a female on Twitter. Growing up in a world of chaos, amongst other things, left me riddled with negative thoughts about body image, so when I began to take sexy photos and use them as a marketing strategy to promote the fantasy sports sponsor, Cantor Fantasy, it was actually liberating. I made no apologies. Although I preferred to remain anonymous to protect my privacy, as well as, respect my work with the courts, I was enjoying the creative freedom and felt a sense of artistic achievement. Mastering the art of self photos is not necessarily vanity as opposed to a strategic and creative marketing plan than can save thousands.
When my brother was accused of being the person behind the Twitter account, I began to “come out” as myself, only having your sister be on your sports radio show isn’t really the best marketing. Fantasy sports were becoming huge, Cantor had gone into the fantasy sports biz, and thus I created a marketing campaign using social media, and very sexy sports. The real businesswoman, the advocate, passionate role model and me began using Twitter to help educate about how virally important it was for athletes to recognize the power of their voice. I created a blog, eventually was invited to do a sports law segment, and became known as one of the top social media influencers in sports. I wrote to the commissioner of the NFL after I saw ads in Vogue magazine about the Greg Hardy and Ray Rice cases.
It’s five years since my first sports tweet. I care deeply about education, our youth and the law. My own show is a spin off from the work I did for my brother, and since I tweeted so much for him and others on his show, for free by the way, I ended up being seen as a knowledgeable sports personality. Crazy, huh?
So here I am, in Southern Nevada, without a map. I have a desire to educate about domestic violence, the law, and learn more about sports. I care about the legalities of sports betting, the variables that might mitigate domestic violence, and work hard to help athletes understand that being a role model, means more than being a mere model.
In my life, I’ve experienced child abuse, domestic violence, and can count on more than one hand the times I’ve been sexually assaulted. Whether it was having a drink drugged, or being too young and stupid to know better than to put myself in a horribly self-destructive environment, I’ve been there. By the way, I’m not blaming myself for the reality of being taken advantage of, but BU teaches a great course on victimization, and I highly recommend it, to anyone and everyone who thinks that victims do not, at times, contribute to their own circumstance. It’s not blaming when you recognize your own contribution to the circumstances that might have lead to the event, and it’s not giving a free pass to the perpetrator, but it is accepting and learning about how to perhaps manage your own personal risk differently in the future.
Was it because of my childhood, life itself, or are we all vulnerable to the horrific crimes such as these? Rather than be angry, I have chosen to embrace my life, my experiences, and serve as a role model and educator in my community. For now, you can hear me on the radio or read my articles that are often published in a men’s interest magazine, but who knows where I’ll be tomorrow. Had you asked me five years ago if I’d be living in Southern Nevada, I would have likely taken the ‘Under’ . . .
Life is like a box of chocolates 😉