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Is Tua Tagovailoa ready to become Miami’s biggest star since Dan Marino?

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Leaps into swimming pools. Emotional moments of jubilation. Tears of joy. Fifteen words delivered by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell — “With the fifth pick in the 2020 NFL draft, the Miami Dolphins select Tua Tagovailoa” — elicited all that plus a belief the moment will change the Dolphins’ franchise forever.

Over the past month, there has been an innate buzz burgeoning nationally, but especially in South Florida, that can be summed up as a Tua frenzy. An 11-minute fan-generated Youtube video gives a visual.

“Tua is far by himself — never seen anything like this buzz from a draft pick here. There’s no close second,” said Dolphins color commentator and radio host Joe Rose, who played for the franchise alongside Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino from 1983 to 1985. “We have a rock star here in Tua. This team has been in mediocrity for so long. It’s lacked the Dan Marino star power, the Ricky Williams star power. Tua’s the next guy in that group.”

Despite the love, it’s too early to crown Tagovailoa. He hasn’t even played a NFL game. Tagovailoa’s arrival is defined by hope and hype.

Even in his first month as a Dolphins quarterback, it is clear that if Tagovailoa lives up to expectations, he will be the face of South Florida sports for a while.

How will Tagovailoa manage the pressure, the buzz, overwhelming positivity, eventual negativity and everything that comes with being hailed as the next big thing in a city starving for its latest sports superstar?

“The great thing for Tua is Dan Marino retired 20 years ago,” Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon said. “So it’s not like he’s following right behind a legend like Aaron Rodgers following Brett Favre or whoever follows Tom Brady. He just has to be himself. He can’t be Dan Marino. Just be yourself and rely on the people around you.”

‘It’s going to be Dolphins town’

A Mount Rushmore of athletes who have led South Florida pro teams probably starts with Marino and the Miami Heat‘s Dwyane Wade, but the initial expectations weren’t as high with either legend.

Wade remembers it wasn’t until after he led the Heat to their first championship in 2006 that he became the face of South Florida sports. He returned to Miami and hopped in his convertible with a buddy. Fans sighted him and rushed the car. He couldn’t drive another block.

“I looked at my friend and said, ‘Yo, this is different,'” Wade said. “I enjoyed it. But I knew it would never be normal in this city from that point on. I had to get used to being a celebrity. The perks were great, but the non-privacy was not so great.”

Wade County was born and didn’t slow down. His presence remains large in Miami, but since he retired following the 2018-19 season, there has been an active-superstar void.

Enter Tagovailoa.

“He’s hell of a player. Miami, especially at the QB position, really needs that. They need a leader. They need a player,” Wade said. “To come in as a young player and win a game in the second half of a national championship game — that shows some grit, that shows some balls. People have to really believe in you. Miami needs that. The Dolphins need that. Even though I’m a [Chicago] Bears fan, I was rooting for them to get him because Miami needs to get back to where the basketball program is.”

Wade’s advice to Tagovailoa centers on how to handle fame; the future basketball Hall of Fame guard says he would often deal with anxiety when he left the house. He felt the need to always be on as D-Wade even when he wanted to just be Dwyane. Wade said even though he wasn’t expected to “save the franchise,” once he became a fan favorite, he had to “figure out how to enjoy what you worked hard for, but keep a level of sanity at the same time.”

Wade is optimistic Tagovailoa will lift the Dolphins to a place they never reached while he was with the Heat.

“If the Dolphins get it going, it’s going to be Dolphins town. We did as much to make it a basketball town as possible, and Miami Heat is there to stay. But let’s not get it twisted: Florida is football. Once they get their s— together, they are going to be big and bigger,” Wade said. “But those Heat guys — Bam [Adebayo], Tyler Herro — are going to battle him for it. He’s got to earn it.

“How you put yourself in that conversation is doing something great, something that people have never seen before, and obviously winning.”

Marino was a ‘rock star’

Tagovailoa passed his first test by eschewing his college No. 13 — Marino’s number in Miami. Instead, Tagovailoa is paving his own path by becoming the first Dolphins QB to wear No. 1.

“I understand No. 13 is retired, and it should be. Dan Marino, he’s the GOAT. He’s like the mayor out there, and I have much respect for him,” Tagovailoa said. “I just want to have the opportunity to go out there and compete.”

Every quarterback who has arrived in Miami has been met with some mention of Marino, and Miami has started 21 quarterbacks since the Hall of Famer retired in 2000. The Dolphins haven’t had a Pro Bowl QB since then, which marks the NFL’s longest streak.

So, while the expectations might seem unwieldy for a 22-year-old quarterback coming off a serious hip injury, this isn’t just any NFL city. He’s coming to a franchise that is thirsty for a star QB, and fans have been waiting on Tagovailoa for more than a year.

“When I got down there, the Miami Dolphins were Dan Marino’s town and team. It’s still that way,” former Dolphins great Ricky Williams said. “I was a running back, but no one has even come close to eclipsing the success that Dan had in Miami as a quarterback. Even more so than what I experienced, Tua has the potential to be a big part of what it means to be a Miami Dolphin for a long time.”

Williams had a great run as the face of the Dolphins. Jason Taylor, Zach Thomas and Ryan Tannehill did, too. But none of them have the national pull Tagovailoa has now.

Rose says he remembers the buzz around Marino being relatively subdued when he arrived. The Dolphins, coming off a Super Bowl XVII loss, were led by their “Killer B’s” defense, and they selected Marino with the No. 27 overall pick when he fell to them in the 1983 draft.

By the end of his record-setting 1984 MVP season, Marino was a superstar.

“When we went to New York, I saw the phone calls we got in our hotel room. I saw what movie stars and celebrities came around. People wanted to be around this guy,” Rose said. “We didn’t have the media and social media that they do now, so it could be a lot more hidden. He was big stuff. He was a rock star.”

Marino is the standard, but Tagovailoa doesn’t have to reach that level to be remembered in Dolphins history. As Moon and Wade have stressed, he just has to focus on being himself.

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Mike Tannenbaum and Rob Ninkovich are in agreement that new Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa should sit his first year and learn behind a veteran.

Work, gain respect, then build the brand

Moon knows all about highly anticipated arrivals. After five Grey Cup titles in the Canadian Football League, Moon signed with the Houston Oilers and became the NFL’s highest-paid player in 1984.

With stars such as running back Earl Campbell and linebacker Robert Brazile already in Houston, Moon was conscious of veterans believing he was too full of himself. Moon’s response was to work hard, including lifting weights with the offensive line.

“When people came in the building, I was already there. When people left, I was still there,” Moon said. “Yeah, I had a lot of attention, but they saw my work ethic. When I got on the field, they started to see I could really play. What you’re trying to do is gain respect, and I think Tua will get that, too, because of his work ethic.”

Showing that work ethic and building camaraderie with teammates could prove to be more challenging for Tagovailoa this offseason with virtual meetings instead of in-person practices. But Tagovailoa has reached out to many of his Dolphins teammates via text messages and phone calls.

The other balance Tagovailoa will have to maintain is his unique marketability with Moon’s advice “to go in there with your head down and work.”

Tagovailoa, who signed a four-year, $30.3 million deal, has endorsement deals with Adidas, Hulu, Muscle Milk, Verizon, Wingstop, Gillette, Lowe’s, Bose and Call of Duty. He recently signed a multiyear, exclusive, memorabilia-and-collection deal with Fanatics. He also has a documentary in the works detailing his journey to the Dolphins.

Agent Ryan Williams and Athletes First have handled Tagovailoa’s marketing demands, and he has immediately become one of the NFL’s most well-known young players. The people love the former Alabama quarterback, and that has shown up in the numbers. Tagovailoa is the top-selling NFL player in terms of overall merchandise sales since May 1 across the Fanatics network, which includes NFLshop.com and online team stores — above Tampa Bay’s Brady and Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow, the No. 1 overall draft pick.

Moon remembered advice he was given by his agent, Leigh Steinberg, who also represents Tagovailoa: to take things slow on building your brand and try to avoid reading the headlines or social media.

“I just want to make sure that he doesn’t try to get too far ahead of himself. Football is what butters his bread,” Moon said. “If he doesn’t do well on the football field, everything else will go away. Knowing a bit about Tua, he’ll be fine.”

Tagovailoa showed humility throughout his college career. He has a connection to family and a desire to give back.

“I’m honored that the fans think so highly of me. But I haven’t done anything, yet,” Tagovailoa said. “What I did in college can’t translate to the NFL. It’s a clean slate. I’ve got to go out there and earn my respect and earn the trust from my teammates.”

‘The guys in that locker room’

The idea of star power before taking a NFL snap might be enough to make Dolphins coach Brian Flores’ head spin. A champion of competition and team-first mentality, Flores probably doesn’t care how many jerseys Tagovailoa sells as long as he produces on the field.

“The world will make you think that you’re this superstar. And maybe you are, but it doesn’t really matter,” Flores said last November regarding any particular player’s growing success. “The only thing that matters is the guys in that locker room.”

But there is an element of stardom Wade alluded to with which Flores probably will agree, and that’s winning. The New England Patriots became an NFL dynasty with a star quarterback because of their winning records and Super Bowl titles. The allure of Tagovailoa’s star power will be embraced should the Dolphins become title contenders year in and year out.

Before worrying about the celebrity, the more timely concern revolves around when Tagovailoa will get on the field. Some argue he should be an immediate starter, while others suggest a redshirt 2020 season. The most likely result appears to be somewhere in the middle.

The Dolphins are in Year 2 of a dramatic rebuild, but Flores always wants to win. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, the veteran incumbent, has the upper hand in securing the starting role for several reasons, thanks to his comfort in offensive coordinator Chan Gailey’s scheme, his success guiding the Dolphins in 2019 (to five wins), his leadership in the locker room and a lack of a true offseason.

But Tagovailoa is also eager to learn under Fitzpatrick, saying on draft day in April that he wants “to understand the kind of person he is … nitpick him, ask him how he goes about preparing for a defense … and just being able to question him.”

Fitzpatrick vows to be Tagovailoa’s “biggest cheerleader,” but he won’t hand him the starting job in 2020. Tagovailoa probably wouldn’t want it any other way, because when football returns, he will get the opportunity to prove his worth.

Once Tagovailoa hits the field, the hope is he gets to become the greatest version of himself instead of being constantly compared to Marino. That weight is too heavy.

But becoming the long-term face of the Dolphins and South Florida sports? That’s well within Tagovailoa’s grasp.



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Renaming the Redskins – Inside the process, hurdles and possible fallout

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The process of changing a team name isn’t a simple one, as the Washington Redskins are about to discover. That is, if they indeed change their name as is widely expected.

Two things are known: ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that there will be no Native American imagery; as one team source said the other day, they don’t want to create future issues. And another team source said Wednesday that the plan, as of now, is to stick with the burgundy and gold color scheme.

Still, as Marc Ganis, president and founder of consulting firm Sportscorp, pointed out: It can take some teams two years to make a change. But those teams often have the luxury of time. Washington might end up doing it hastily because of more intense pressure than ever to ditch a name some view as derogatory.

A number of sponsors, led by FedEx (which has naming rights to the team’s stadium under a $205 million deal that runs until 2025), Nike and PepsiCo have said they want the name changed. And numerous retailers, including Target, Walmart and Amazon, have stopped selling the team’s merchandise.

“Because of the pressure now, there’s more value in doing something sooner rather than later,” Ganis said.

That’s the easy part. Redskins coach Ron Rivera told The Washington Post he’d like it done before training camp; however, that may well be mostly about his desire to have it over so he can focus on football. That doesn’t mean anything will be decided by late July.

The hard part will be everything else: for example, replacing the signs in the stadium and at the practice facility.

“It’s amazing how you go through a stadium and through a practice facility where that logo exists,” said Matt Williams, a former executive vice president with the NBA’s Washington Wizards. He was with the team when it dropped the name Bullets. “It’s everywhere. It’s a process to switch that over.”

Here’s an in-depth look at what confronts owner Dan Snyder and the organization as changing the team name is explored.

What’s a typical timetable for this?

The league has never gone through anything quite like this, where a franchise decides to change its name after 87 years. That’s why one league source said last week that there’s no timetable, because this is a unique situation. The last team to change its name was the Tennessee Oilers in 1998 — but that stemmed from the franchise having moved from Houston.

The team’s executive vice president/general manager at the time, Floyd Reese, said the process took a year — from the announcement that the Oilers were changing their name until completion. That included getting the name Titans trademarked, along with T-shirts and any other items they produced.

When the Bullets announced they were changing their name, the process took two years to complete. And the process involves more than just renaming a team. Williams, who now is a senior strategist and vice president of media relations for Maroon PR, said there’s also time and energy devoted to logos and color schemes, the stationery and even business cards.

“There are so many tentacles to where a sports franchise’s name exists,” Williams said. “It’s quite an undertaking. … It’s a lot more of an involved process than certainly the general public thinks. They think you can paint a new logo on the field and it’s done. You could do it that way, but it’s not the preferred way and there will be hiccups.”

Does the league vote on the name?

No. The other owners will not vote on whatever the organization decides, but the NFL must approve the name. Multiple sources said Snyder has been in discussions with the league about a possible name change for three weeks.

When Tennessee changed its name, it worked in conjunction with the league office. Reese said the league had names on hand that had been tested and reviewed, including the Titans. He also said there was a group in Tennessee that wanted the name Rebels. Then one day he got a phone call from a lady who said she was the ex-wife of James Earl Ray — the man who shot Martin Luther King Jr.

“She said, ‘That would have been a name [Ray] liked, and he’s a staunch racist and you can’t use that name,'” Reese said. “I said, ‘I’ve got it, ma’am.'”

How long is the logo process?

Brian Killingsworth has had experience with this process. He was the marketing and promotions director for MLB’s Tampa Bay Rays in 2007 when they dropped the word “Devil” from their name and now is the chief marketing officer for the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights.

“It’s a lot more of an involved process than certainly the general public thinks. They think you can paint a new logo on the field and it’s done.”

Matt Williams, former executive vice president with the Washington Wizards.

Killingsworth and the organization announced their new AHL team, the Henderson Silver Knights, complete with a logo in May. He called that a fast process; it took eight months. When he was the director of marketing and promotions in Tampa, he said it took nearly two years to not only tweak the team name but then come up with new colors and a new logo.

“We made changes internally, and then the last step was rebranding from that,” Killingsworth said of the Rays. He also was with the St. Louis Rams for three years and said they were having exploratory conversations in 2013 and ’14 about a new logo. It was finally launched this summer.

Said Williams of the Redskins: “They’ll want to come up with a logo that resonates, and that’s not a short process. I could see them doing something like changing the name and do something generic with the logo — maybe it’s just a word this first year — and then unveiling a logo down the road. Or maybe there’s something they already like. Traditionally, what you try to do when changing the name or coming up with a name, you want to have it completely in place and everything set to go.”

This is anything but a traditional situation, however.

One nugget of hope from Killingsworth for Washington fans: In the first season after the Rays changed their name, they advanced to their first World Series.

Will public opinion matter?

A decent amount, but probably more from the standpoint of which traditions the team wants to keep. It’s likely the name will come from within and perhaps will be tested in some way, but it doesn’t appear as if there’s any sort of focus group.

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Adam Schefter reports that change is coming to Washington, and he doesn’t expect the Redskins to retain their name in 2020.

The Redskins have said they want to involve alumni, Native American groups, the military and, at some level, the fans. But no concrete plans have been revealed.

Could this be a step toward a new stadium and hosting a Super Bowl?

Absolutely. Washington could have built a stadium in Virginia without changing the name, and probably in Maryland as well. The Redskins train in Virginia and play in Maryland. But their iconic former home — RFK Stadium — is located in the District of Columbia, and that’s a favored destination for the team. The city wants them back as well. But multiple city officials have been vocal about not wanting the team back unless it changes the name. Because the stadium is on federal land, the Redskins need help from the government. Eleanor Holmes Norton, the city’s delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives, recently told the “Redskins Talk” podcast that she’ll bring a bill before Congress to buy the unused federal land in an effort to lure Washington’s franchise back — once the name is changed. That would be a huge step toward a new stadium.

The team’s land lease at its current location ends in 2027, and if it does build a new stadium, as many anticipate, it could end up hosting a Super Bowl. Snyder has long desired to host one, and after New York hosted one at its newish stadium in 2014, the league could reward Washington after its stadium opens — as early as 2028.

How hard is it to get a new name trademarked?

Washington can start using a new name before it gets trademarked. The first step, according to Michael Graif, an intellectual property attorney with Mintz, is “clearing the trademark.” The team has to make sure there are no “confusingly similar trademarks that have priority over them,” he said.

Once the Redskins do that and are confident the trademark is available, they could start using the new name while applying for the trademark to be registered. The cost: $275 per classification of what they want trademarked. That includes clothing and calendars, printed material, video recordings and much more. The costs add up.

Graif said it takes about year for a trademark to go through. It takes about three months before it even gets assigned to an examining attorney from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. For fans of the name Redtails, know this: Above the Law recently published a piece by Darren Heitner, founder of Heitner Legal, about two men who live in the Washington area — Deron Hogans and Thaniel van Amerongen. In February they “jointly filed an application to register the ‘Washington Redtails’ trademark in association with the licensing of intellectual property rights.”

Heitner said that application was published for opposition on June 23. After that point, other parties have 30 days to oppose the trademark. If the team wanted to use Redtails, it still could do so because it can prove the name would be used for goods and services. That’s key. However, Washington couldn’t move forward until the other application was resolved.

“It would cause a bump in the road in terms of trying to apply and register for a name if [Snyder] falls in love with [Redtails],” Heitner said in a phone conversation.

As for changing the uniform, Heitner said it doesn’t have to take long, depending on how far along Washington is in the process. Nike, which makes the NFL’s uniforms, seems to have hit its end with the Redskins name.

“It appears from a business and legal standpoint, [Nike is] ready for the team to change its name,” Heitner said. “It has pulled merchandise off [its] online retail store. It’s not like it’s going to lose out on money it wouldn’t otherwise have received. It’s very interesting to see how it plays out and how quickly it plays out.”

There’s also the matter of making sure broadcast partners and advertisers have the right logo and designs.

How will the brand be affected?

Let’s be honest: The Redskins’ brand has suffered in recent years for reasons unrelated to their name. In fact, when it comes to percentage of home attendance, the Redskins have finished just one season above 20th since 2007 — and that was in 2007, when they were second. They were 30th in 2019 and last the year before that. Part of that stems from having a stadium fans dislike in an area that results in traffic headaches — and a team that hasn’t won a playoff game since 2005.

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Jeff Darlington reports on the Redskins’ trio of minority owners, who are interested in selling their shares and make up about 40% of the ownership group.

There’s certainly a segment of the population that was offended by the name and logo — some fans of the team included — and that didn’t help. But the name has long been controversial, yet the fan base remained strong. Until recent years, that is, when fans tired of inconsistent play, years of false hope, and a front office and ownership group they disliked.

Over the past two seasons in particular, it was common to see opposing fans outnumber Redskins fans at home games. In other words: Winning matters; the brand hasn’t been selling tickets.

“We place too much emphasis on how much money a brand generates or how many followers it has on Twitter, and not enough emphasis on what a brand stands for,” said Jeremy Dowler, a brand consultant who is a former director of marketing for Adidas in football and baseball. “Going forward, the more inclusive a brand is, the stronger it will be,” he said. “The long-term connection fans have with a professional sports team comes from the location of that team, what the organization stands for, and how it represents the local and regional community, not the mascot.”

Will there be fallout?

Miami (Ohio) endured a similar decision 24 years ago with its name change. When the school was hiring a new president in 1996, then-athletic director Eric Hyman said a main question from the dean of students during every interview was: Will you change the name Redskins? The school is not as big a brand as Washington, but the 66-year-old name mattered at a university with a storied football history. It’s known as the cradle of coaches for producing luminaries such as Woody Hayes, Bo Schembechler, Jim Tressel, Ara Parseghian and, most recently, Sean McVay.

After beating Top 25 teams, Miami had a tradition of hanging a tomahawk in the locker room with the name of the beaten squad. That’s why, after the school decided in September 1996 to change its team name to the RedHawks, there was tension. One day, in what Hyman called a tense meeting, board member Wayne Embry — a former NBA player and front office executive — delivered a statement. Embry is 6-foot-10 and a large presence.

“He said, ‘I was born a Redskin, I’m gonna die a Redskin, but this is very offensive to the Miami tribe and we need to change it,'” Hyman said. “It ended the discussion. People were worried about a fallout financially; I don’t think there was much fallout.”

Hyman said a protest was organized against the name change.

“Ten people showed up,” said Hyman, who grew up in northern Virginia and considers himself a fan of the Washington franchise. “[The issue] eventually died, and it wasn’t as much a catastrophe as anticipated to be. … It was quieter than I expected.”

Williams understands the cycle of this situation. The Bullets name wasn’t as iconic as the Redskins; the franchise had been known as the Bullets for only 34 years, first in Baltimore and then Washington. It did win a championship in 1978, but it didn’t have a marching band or a fight song that resonated with fans. Still, he said, it’s all about time.

“Talk to any 20-year-old who grew up in this area and he’s just known the Wizards,” Williams said. “It becomes less of a sensitive subject as you move on. Time heals a little bit and probably will here, too.”

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Bengals’ Joe Burrow partners with food pantry for hunger relief fund

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Cincinnati Bengals rookie quarterback Joe Burrow has partnered with local organizations in Southeast Ohio to create a hunger relief fund named in his honor.

On Thursday, the Athens County Food Pantry and Foundation for Appalachian Ohio announced the creation of the Joe Burrow Hunger Relief Fund that will serve the region. Between the pantry’s donation and a dollar-for-dollar match from the FAO, the fund held $700,000 as of Thursday afternoon.

“I’m so grateful for the outpouring of support from people across the country around the food insecurity issues faced by those in my region,” Burrow said in a release. “The initial funds that were raised have had an immediate impact for people throughout Athens County, and I am honored to lend my support and voice to this new initiative that will ensure that impact lasts long into the future.”

The Bengals’ rookie quarterback has been vocal about the topic long before he led LSU to the College Football Playoff championship in January and was the top overall pick in this April’s NFL draft.

When Burrow won the Heisman Trophy in December 2019, he mentioned the issue of hunger in Athens County, where he spent the majority of his childhood. A fundraiser sparked by Burrow’s comments elicited roughly $650,000 in donations.

Karin Bright, president of the Athens County Food Pantry, said that once donations started to pour in, the organization wanted to not only address immediate needs but also look at any long-term impact that could be made. That sparked the idea for the endowment that was announced Thursday.

“It sends a very clear message that as a food pantry, we really are looking at things in a long-term way and we are looking at supporting this region,” Bright said.

According to a report released by the Ohio Development Services Agency in January 2019, Athens County had a poverty rate of 30.2%, which was the highest of any county in Ohio and doubled the statewide average. Per the Athens County Food Pantry, an estimated 12,900 people in the county — nearly one in five people — were food insecure before the spread of COVID-19.

In establishing the relief fund named after Burrow, Bright said there was a significant amount of discussion with Burrow’s parents, Jimmy and Robin, throughout the process that culminated with Thursday’s announcement.

Cara Dingus Brook, the president of the FAO, said the fund named after Burrow will help provide the level of support required to creating lasting change when it comes to food insecurity in the region. Brook said naming the fund after Burrow was “a fitting thing to do” because of the impact Burrow has made throughout the community.

“It has been a shot in the arm for everybody here,” Brook said. “So often in an area that has suffered from persistent poverty, with it can come a culture of diminished expectations.

“And so to see this success and this success to say to everybody else, ‘You can do it, too,’ it just totally embodies everything we as a foundation believe is going to lead our region forward and help solve some of these really generational issues, whether it’s economic issues or food insecurity.”

The new fund named after Burrow will be operated by the FAO and help the Athens County Food Pantry continue its efforts throughout Southeast Ohio.

“Being able to create this endowment is just another incredible way we’re going to be able to continue our work and support our region,” Bright said.

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Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie’s documentary film company finishes ‘The Meaning of Hitler’

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Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie’s documentary film company, Play/Action Pictures, on Thursday announced the completion of its inaugural project, which has been in the works for three years: “The Meaning of Hitler.”

Lurie is an executive producer for the film. The threat of white supremacy is a topic that has been important to him for some time, and this is an example of his commitment to addressing social issues.

The announcement comes as Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson has received widespread condemnation for his social media posts, including an anti-Semitic message that he attributed to Adolf Hitler.

Jackson spoke with Lurie and general manager Howie Roseman — both of whom are Jewish — on Tuesday, a source told ESPN’s Tim McManus, with Lurie expressing deep disappointment about the social media posts. Jackson expressed a desire to educate himself and to work directly with the Jewish community, and his camp contacted the rabbi at Chabad Young Philly a short time later to discuss ways for Jackson to donate to and work with the organization.

The documentary, which uses the 1978 best-selling book of the same title as a guide, was filmed in nine countries over three years.

“We couldn’t be prouder that ‘The Meaning of Hitler’ is the first completed film made by our new documentary production company, Play/Action Pictures,” Lurie said in a statement. “I envisioned Play/Action to be a leading creative force for films that engage with the most crucial and challenging issues of our time. The rise of white supremacy and neo-fascism in the United States and the world over are among the most important and serious threats we face today.”

Lurie and his former wife, Christina, won an Academy Award in 2011 as executive producers of “Inside Job,” a documentary that examined corruption on Wall Street.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter contributed to this report.

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