With the NFL season on the horizon, Tanner Simkins caught up with recent NFLPA President and current Harvard MBA President Domonique Foxworth to talk about the league and where he is today in Cambridge…
Domonique Foxworth, former NFL cornerback and NFLPA President, is now an MBA candidate at Harvard Business School. Recently, we caught up with Foxworth for a discussion on his NFLPA Presidency, his MBA progress at HBS, and more. (A detailed biography for Foxworth is provided after the Q&A). You can connect with Foxworth on Twitter.
Full Court Press: You helped shape the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, what was the biggest lesson you learned from that process?
Domonique Foxworth: I found myself in a room full of billionaires. Before the negotiations started, I had this impression that everyone in the room was out-of-this-world smart. After the first couple meetings, I realized that I am just as smart and just as capable as they are. This experience motivated me to attend business school.
FCP: What inspired you to run for NFLPA President?
DF: It wasn’t a snap decision. It was a process. It was important for me to take a larger role in the [governing] body that I belong to, and to me there was no better way than being President.
FCP: Now you’re getting your MBA. How has the transition into Harvard Business School been going?
DF: It’s been tough but I am no stranger to working very hard. It is definitely a different culture than one I was in before. But I am happy to be a part of it and I feel like I fit in well.
FCP: What’s more difficult playing an NFL season or a HBS semester?
DF: The NFL, hands down. No one is trying to hurt me when I am studying. Competing against a book or competing in the class for comments is much different than competing against super humans who are physically going after me on a weekly or daily basis. At Harvard they are super humans too, with their intelligence. But, everybody can win [in the classroom] and that’s the biggest difference. When there are confrontations here, [at HBS] we can all win – and that’s not how it works in sports.
FCP: What are your post-graduation plans?
DF: I am very interested in entrepreneurship and venture capitalism especially related to something in the sports arena.
FCP: What are some industry trends or developments that you are closely following?
DF: The sports industry is no different than any other. Technology can provide quality improvements. That’s what I am excited about. I’m already working with entrepreneurs and young companies to apply tech to improve the quality of life for athletes.
FCP: What’s your favorite book, sports business or otherwise?
DF: Fox in Socks by Dr. Seuss. Classic! [Foxworth has a toddler and baby at home.]
FCP: Any tips for aspiring sports professionals who may be reading this?
DF: The major tip I give to anyone who wants to get in sports is: know that your day-to-day job will have very little to do with the actual sport. If you want to get in to sports business because you love the game of football or basketball, you are going to be very disappointed because you’re so far removed from the game. (Unless you are a coach.) Evaluate why you want to be in sports. If you are crazy sports fan, you may be disappointed with the [minimal] access you receive.
Domonique Foxworth, a former NFL cornerback, is a respected leader and in March 2012 was elected by his peers to serve as the NFL Players Association President.
First elected to the NFLPA as a player representative in 2007, he became one of the youngest vice presidents ever to be voted onto the executive committee. Foxworth played a pivotal role in the NFL collective bargaining agreement (CBA) negotiations in 2011 which resulted in: a longer off-season, allowing players time for recovery and academic pursuits; the elimination of two-a-day practices as a health and safety measure—several youth leagues followed suit; a minimum threshold for spending under the salary cap; and the creation of a “Legacy Fund” pension resource for former NFL players, among other things. During his tenure, the union has also instituted several new committees, composed of staff and players, to encourage greater involvement among members; established a unique 10-year $100 million partnership with Harvard Medical School to research new ways to diagnose, treat and prevent injuries and illness affecting football players; and created a lifecycle initiative for members which includes a series of resources and programs to help players excel during and after their NFL career. His current term as NFLPA President runs through 2014.
Foxworth was drafted by the Denver Broncos in 2005, and played in the NFL over seven years for the Broncos, the Atlanta Falcons and his hometown Baltimore Ravens. The Broncos nominated Foxworth for the 2007 Walter Peyton Man of the Year Award for his work in the community which included: serving as spokesperson for “College and Colorado,” a nonprofit devoted to increasing enrollment and improving academic success of low income students; raising money to build a teen center in the name of slain teammate; and penning a weekly column for the Denver Post—the collection was later published as a book with proceeds befitting a Denver nonprofit.
He completed high school in 3.5 years, enrolled early at the University of Maryland, and began training with the school’s football team. Foxworth graduated from Maryland with an B.A. in American Studies in 2004 and was awarded as Maryland Student Athlete of the Year. He will matriculate at Harvard Business School in fall 2013.
A student of the civil right movement, Foxworth collects artifacts and historical treasures from African American history in his spare time.