Behind the Line of Scrimmage

Inside the Front Office of the NFL


By Michael Huyghue

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Former collegiate star, sports agent, and NFL Executive Michael Huyghue recounts his journey in professional sports and shows how race and racism operate among the rich and the white and extend way beyond the NFL and the world of sports executives.

With a deep, abiding love for sports, Huyghue chronicles his journey from childhood athletics to one of the highest-ranking black executives in the NFL. Huyghue reveals a bird’s eye view of the inner workings of the exclusive inner sanctum of the NFL owners, players and management. The author’s journey as an athlete and lawyer provides a behind-the-scenes glimpse of what goes on behind closed doors in the world of professional sports and collegiate athletic programs.

His story as a pioneer and a change agent is one of hope, triumph, setback and sheer perseverance that will resonate with any sports fan. It is a blueprint-marked by wry humor and without bitterness — to successfully navigate the journey that remains for minorities to succeed as front office executives in the multibillion-dollar sports industry. It is also a not often told chronicle of growing up black and male in white suburban America.

While black athletes are ubiquitous on the playing field and front pages of tabloids, the challenge remains to gain true power in the multibillion-dollar sports industry. Huyghue details that struggle play by play.



Kneeling Down

President Trump was in Huntsville, Alabama, for a campaign-style rally with his base supporters. I watched the news on TV as Trump rambled on, congratulating himself for the self-proclaimed amazing job he had done so far as president in such a short time. “This man is truly delusional!” I yelled out from the living room to my wife, who was, fortunately for me, cooking dinner. She had reached her limit of the broadcast and my “guess what” Trump updates. “Too depressing,” Kim would usually say, but this time she called back nonchalantly, “What’s he saying now?,” still not turning her head toward the television.

Although her tone suggested she really didn’t care to know, her natural curiosity and accumulated knowledge belied that suggestion. Kim’s stay-at-home wife/mom title is a designation that doesn’t fit the Harvard-educated, authentically beautiful independent black woman with whom I’m blessed to have shared my life for twenty-five years.

“Same old bullshit!” I shouted back, reminding myself that she’s much smarter than me. Then, somewhat randomly, Trump switched subjects and began a rant on black NFL players who were bending a knee during the national anthem to bring awareness to social injustice in the black community.

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out. He’s fired. He’s fired,’” Trump said.

I stood up from my easy chair, my mouth wide open, aghast. I could not believe he’d actually said what he said. I heard a raucous ovation of approval from the crowd.

“Disrespecting our flag,” I said out loud. “It’s the whole nation’s flag. The flag doesn’t belong to just a portion of the country,” I continued, directing my rebuttal toward the television.

“He has now become unhinged,” Kim chimed in, overhearing my muttering and affirming her steadfast belief that the man was not mentally competent.

“He has not taken the time nor the interest to drill down on what the NFL players’ protest is all about. He just hijacked a racially divisive hot topic and used it to—”

“Enough of this crap,” she said. “I took all this time to cook, so let’s eat.” Kim spared me any more agony by grabbing the television remote from my hand and clicking it off. Okay, fair enough; she’s the boss at home.

The NFL players’ protest first arose in 2016 when then backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick, of the San Francisco 49ers, began kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial injustice in America. A small number of his black teammates knelt in support of him, as did other black players spottily across the league. Kaepernick is biracial, with a white mother and a black father, though he was adopted by white parents.

Racial makeup and delineation always seem to be important in the race discussion, as if we need to define someone as either partially or fully black. It’s irrelevant. Race is not just skin tone or even DNA. It’s one’s self-identification and embrace of the culture that defines racial makeup. Labels can be misleading. When people ask upon what basis Kaepernick, a biracial player, could lead a cause primarily connected to black people, my answer is that Kaepernick obviously identifies with the black community.

At the start of the 2017 season, no NFL team signed the then twenty-nine-year-old free agent Kaepernick, even though his skills seemed to clearly warrant his making an NFL roster. Just a few years prior, Kaepernick led the San Francisco 49ers to a division title with a regular- season record of 12-4. No team publicly acknowledged that he was being blacklisted, though as a longtime NFL insider, I knew his signing would have rattled and upset the fan base of any team. NFL owners never lose sight of the pulse of their fan base. As Weeb Ewbank, the 1969 Super Bowl–winning coach of the New York Jets, once famously said, “We are in the business of selling tickets.” Owners know the lifeblood of their teams is ticket sales. Television revenues pay the bills, but ticket sales speak to the stature of a team. Owners typically steer clear of highly controversial players.

As we ate, I barely tasted the meal Kim was so proud of. I began to search my nearly thirty years of experience in and around the NFL for an answer to why race in the NFL had become headline news and presidential political football.

Kaepernick pledged more than $1 million of his own money to organizations that work in oppressed communities, including the Black Lives Matter movement, which organizes rallies around the country against police brutality and the killing of young African American men. Kaepernick also made it abundantly clear in his messaging about his protest that he was not disrespecting the flag or the men and women of the armed services. To the contrary, he was attempting to use his celebrity to bring attention to and provoke conversation about racial injustices in black communities.

In large measure, Kaepernick was viewed as genuine and sincere, and what predominantly white Americans took issue with was his kneeling during the anthem. It was to them, notwithstanding the apparent legitimacy of his intentions, disrespectful. Kaepernick remained unsigned. Even as several teams experienced injuries at the quarterback position, he was bypassed, and less-qualified players were signed to NFL rosters. There was no way for the black players to view Kaepernick’s rejection other than as his being blackballed by the NFL.

Throughout the 2017 NFL season, more black players and indeed even full teams of white and black players began kneeling during the anthem, raising fists, and locking arms. I felt that all too familiar sense of the system working against us as I watched Trump identify this prolonged player protest as an “unpatriotic act” and use it shamelessly as an opportunity to whip up base supporters. The president had a keen sense of his audience and knew exactly which buttons to push to trigger an explosion of controversy. What most in his audience didn’t know was that Trump himself had a long-standing feud with the NFL.

As owner of the spring league United States Football League’s New Jersey Generals in 1984, he sought to compete directly with the NFL by moving the league from the spring to the fall season. As part of the move, Trump and the owners sued the NFL on antitrust grounds, claiming the NFL was an unlawful monopoly. Ultimately Trump and the USFL did win the antitrust case, but the damages awarded were $1; yes, one dollar. Shortly thereafter, the USFL shuttered its business operations. Trump was left without a team and was persona non grata with NFL owners. As I reflected on Trump’s rant about black NFL players, I wondered if Trump was perhaps just posturing Trump, resurrecting his grudge against the NFL.

But following his divisive remarks in Alabama, many NFL owners actually denounced Trump’s venomous words and pushed back. Robert Kraft, the owner of the Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots and a longtime Trump supporter and personal friend, even issued the following statement:

I am deeply disappointed by the tone of the comments made by the President on Friday. I am proud to be associated with so many players who make such tremendous contributions in positively impacting our communities.

A handful of other NFL owners similarly followed suit, including New York Giants owners John Mara and Steve Tisch, San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York, and Green Bay Packers president Mark Murphy.

The players themselves responded with full-team demonstrations of solidarity, including at NFL games across the pond in London, where Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan, a man of Pakistani decent and the only minority owner in the NFL, locked arms with his full team on the field.

Commissioner Roger Goodell initially did not succumb to the pressure from Trump; instead, he publicly stated that while the NFL encourages its players to stand for the national anthem, he and the league supported their right to protest.* I knew that Goodell was genuine in his comments because I have known him personally for the last twenty years. I also knew that this issue would cause a great deal of resentment among the league’s fan base and had the potential to cause permanent damage to the league’s image and brand, something Commissioner Goodell cared about greatly and would not jeopardize.

I have frequently offered my thoughts on issues pertaining to race to Goodell. I first worked with him when I was a young lawyer with the NFL Management Council and he worked in the league office. Over the years, we worked together on such projects as the NFL spring football league (the World League) and other labor-related issues with the players. We got along well even when our relative positions in the league required us to disagree. Once he became commissioner, I continued to offer my advice, even unsolicited, and he was always responsive. I felt compelled to reach out to him on this issue. I had already spoken about the issue to the few black senior executives at the league office, as well as a few of the black general managers. We are a small, close-knit community and find solace in our camaraderie. It was clear to us that if the league did not support the black players, kneeling would be only the first step in their protest.

Players are often viewed as becoming wealthy too quickly, and any strong views they might hold on issues outside of football are dismissed out of hand. But black senior execs and GMs in the NFL know that players in general, and in particular black players, don’t twist their wealth with privilege. They may be wealthy, but they also recognize that they do not enjoy the same social privileges usually associated with wealth. Issues in the communities where many of them grew up still matter to them. Police brutality matters to them. Black lives do matter to them. Respect matters to them.

A few days after Trump’s diatribe in Alabama, I sent an e-mail to Goodell letting him know that President Trump’s comments had stoked flames that would entrench black players in their cause for justice, despite any bad publicity their protests might generate. I knew Commissioner Goodell had understood the severity of Trump’s words when he responded to my e-mail the next day. Goodell thanked me for my note and indicated that the league had been working with several players for months on this initiative. He indicated that any progress would likely be driven by the clubs that were seriously engaged on the matter.

Goodell and I both knew that the issue wasn’t going away on its own. Players felt disrespected. This protest was about issues that affected many of the young black men who lived in the neighborhoods where NFL players were born and raised. And it appeared to these players that the league was not standing up in support of them. Black players know how revered they are among the fans for the talents they exhibit on the playing field; but off the field, these same players often feel inconsequential and invisible. They are roundly applauded for their football prowess but nothing more. Their beliefs, concerns, and needs as individuals are largely ignored.

Some black players becoming millionaires through their lucrative NFL contracts does not mean they suddenly forget where they grew up. The damage from long-standing derogatory jokes (e.g., “What do you call a black millionaire?” Answer: “Nigger!”) are firmly embedded in their minds. They don’t forget or ignore the stark realities that exist for many young African American men who live—and often senselessly die—in those poor communities. To assume that wealthy black NFL players would simply turn their backs or remain silent concerning these highly personal issues is the highest insult and disrespect to them. To them, Trump was saying, “You get paid a lot of money, so keep your mouth shut about America’s racism.”

My thought was, Why should NFL players’ opinions on race have less value just because they are wealthy? As the news continued day after day, I related to them. Like me, they do not live in heavily crime-ridden or depressed neighborhoods, but they still care about those neighborhoods, places where some of them grew up. Don’t NFL players deserve a voice? Don’t they matter? I had faced the same you-are-an-exception mind-set in my white counterparts throughout my career. Since I was successful, many thought I didn’t have credibility to speak to issues in the inner city. Worse, I was viewed as some assimilated Uncle Tom who could no longer relate to the struggles in the black community. The truth is, like the NFL players who knelt in protest, I couldn’t forget or pretend the issues of the black community didn’t affect me and my family, regardless of my success or wealth. When I look in the mirror each morning, the first thing I see is a black man. The same black man I’ve always seen—not a lawyer, NFL executive, or successful entrepreneur—a black man.

I worked for nearly three decades in professional football, as a legal intern with the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) and a lawyer with the NFL Management Council. I also served as a general manager and senior executive with various NFL teams, and in most cases I was the first black person to hold those positions. Later I built my own sports agency practice. The varied positions I have held in professional football afforded me a range of up-close perspectives. I gained keen insight into the mind-sets and thought processes of NFL owners, team executives, union representatives, players, and agents. Rare views from so many vantage points have uniquely qualified me to opine on the subject of what drives and motivates the wide range of individuals who all have a stake in resolving issues of race in the NFL.

I understand fully, for example, why NFL players would willingly risk financial security for a cause they believe in. I know why they would stand up—or, in this case, kneel down—to effect social change. It’s because some issues are truly personal for players and are prefaced upon respect. Players know the difference between applause and respect. They see the translucency of respect as soon as they sign their NFL player contracts. By the simple stroke of a pen, these young men become highly sought after by home builders, car dealers, jewelers, financial managers, and other business professionals who previously would have viewed them as inconsequential.

When social norms have told you for most of your life that people who look like you don’t matter, it’s easy to see the ruse when you are treated differently. Newly minted NFL millionaires see past the autograph requests and on-field cheers and know that their circumstances remain “if not for.” If not for the fact that they are professional football players, those who feign color blindness would not waste their time on them. If not for their football prowess and money, these NFL players know they would not be placed on a pedestal by others in society. It’s a sham game, and the players see right through it. They enjoy the spoils, but they are not fooled into believing they are viewed equally in society.

Why shouldn’t black athletes in the NFL be allowed, even encouraged, to use their platform to shed light on social issues and racial injustices, particularly when these issues are so personal to many black athletes? Who has the right to determine what method of nonviolent protest is acceptable—the president of the United States, the NFL owners, the fans? Kneeling during the anthem is nonviolent protest. We must look at both the validity of the protest and the act of protest.

If police brutality in black communities is a relevant issue, then we must support the players’ protest, even if we don’t fully agree with such conduct during the national anthem and believe there are better forums in which to demonstrate and protest. Many people have died—black and white—defending the flag, and military families and others who do not condone utilization of the anthem in an act of protest have a fair point. I might not have personally chosen the same venue for a protest, but I can certainly understand and support Kaepernick’s choice to provoke a more positive discussion on race and bring recognition to a crisis that is destroying the black community.

Throughout my career in football, I kept a commitment to myself that if I ever felt compromised in my integrity or degraded because of my race, in any positon that I held, I would walk—no matter what the consequences. I learned in law school that the art of negotiating was premised on the ultimate ability to walk away; if you could not honestly negotiate from a final take-it-or-leave-it position, you no longer had true leverage. I believe Kaepernick had simply reached his final position. He most assuredly understood the consequences of his act, yet he held to his principles at a great personal sacrifice on a matter he felt deserved such attention. For that, I respect him.

The history of disruptive disputes between the players and the NFL owners is not new; in fact, such disputes date to the very beginning of the players’ formation of a union in 1956 as their collective bargaining representative. At the expiration of almost every collective bargaining agreement, owners and players have faced off in a work stoppage of some sort—either a players’ strike or an owners’ lockout. I first began working as a lawyer in the NFL in 1987, and I saw firsthand that black players have a history of activism, particularly when related to issues of race, freedom, and social injustice. Becoming millionaires does not detract black NFL players from understanding and supporting the cause for equality. If anything, they are more emboldened and prone to enter the fray once they have a meaningful voice.

Almost one month to the day after I received Goodell’s reply to my e-mail, the league entered into an agreement with the NFL Players Coalition, a group of primarily black players led by Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins. They had been meeting regularly with the NFL to find common ground. The NFL ultimately agreed to contribute almost $90 million over seven years to national and local projects directed at social justice issues in black communities, including the eradication of police brutality.

Although the agreement was not predicated on the NFL players’ ending the anthem protest, the players ended the pregame protest shortly thereafter. Overall, players felt that the league had stepped up in its support of the players. And, for the first time, the black players finally perceived the owners as supporting their cause. A culmination in respect. It is always about respect with the players, even though most football fans think it’s solely about the money. To these young black pros, respect is their holy grail.

Jenkins was quoted as saying, “My whole motivation was to draw awareness to disenfranchised people, communities of color, injustices around the country, our criminal justice system. I feel like [this agreement] has presented a bigger and better platform to continue to raise that awareness.” The money the NFL is contributing to black communities will most assuredly have a positive impact on the issues players first began protesting over.

And while Kaepernick became the sacrificial lamb, his voice was chiefly responsible for effecting change. Kaepernick likely knew, when he first knelt down on the playing field during the national anthem, that he might not ever wear another NFL uniform. But he believed enough in the fight for the lives of young black men whose voices have been muted and tuned out that his sacrifice was worth it.

I have seen positive change happen when we as African Americans exercise our collective voices in our “professional worlds.” Sometimes, only one voice is required to cry out among many to promote that change. That was a lesson I held on to early in my career, to not be afraid to exercise my voice, to stand up for issues that affect black people, and to provide opportunities for others to follow. That was my moral compass. I wasn’t always successful, and indeed, throughout my career I willingly ate a bunch of humble pie, but in the end I felt true to myself. I’ve also learned that speaking out loud on issues like race and prejudice can be meaningful, can promote discussion, and, most important, can effect change. The NFL kneeling protests are a modern example of change that was prompted fifty years ago by marches in southern streets. Today, each professional sphere has its own fitting actions to promote change.

From behind the white lines of my thirty years spent working in the inner sanctum of the professional sports industry, and climbing the ladder as the “first black” in almost every position, I’ve seen change, and perhaps been a change agent by breaking down barriers. I’ve struggled inside and outside the exclusive and restrictive organization that is the NFL, and I believe my story can shed light on concerns about race in the NFL and sports in general.


Rules of the Game

Football is a game of rules, and I’ve never really thought of myself as a rule breaker. Still, I started my career as a sports attorney in the NFL by breaking a cardinal rule: in 1987, I left the union that represents the interests of football players to go to work for the organization that represents the interests of team owners.

I was the youngest and only black legal intern on staff at the NFL Players Association, and no one had ever jumped ship to go over to the NFL Management Council. The two organizations were—and still are—often at odds with each other, and there has been an ongoing history of mistrust.

At the time, Gene Upshaw was the first black person to helm the NFLPA, and he was leading a mostly black membership made up of hundreds of pro football players. By contrast, not a single person of color was among the rank and file of NFL team owners, and Norman Jenkins was the only African American on the executive staff of the Management Council, which represented the owners’ interests.

Added to the insult I was unwittingly committing was that, when I jumped ship, the NFLPA and the Management Council were in the middle of a contentious contract negotiation, which ultimately led to the infamous 1987 players’ strike, replete with “scab” replacement players and picket-line brawls.

Had I been less naive, I likely would have thought longer and harder before making the move that catapulted me into having daily contact with the NFL’s moneymen. But at age twenty-five, I was credulous and cocky enough to believe that my departure from the union into enemy territory wouldn’t mean much. In my mind, I hadn’t been privy to any great secrets. I didn’t hold any earth-shattering information about case strategy or contract negotiation techniques. What difference did it make that I was leaving? It was, after all, my career. Working for the Management Council and consequently with NFL team owners would put me in a better position to pursue my long-held dream. I wanted to one day be the NFL commissioner—today Goodell’s job, then held by Pete Rozelle. That goal had been driving my choices since high school.

Fresh out of law school, I still believed I could crash that glass ceiling as a black man. I’m getting ahead of my story, but you already know I am not nor was I ever commissioner of the NFL, but that goal still led me to splinter some other racial ceilings in the NFL. I’m not sure exactly why or how I decided at a young age that I wanted to become the commissioner of the NFL. Like most black youth with a talent for sports, my focus was on being an athlete.

I always felt there was more to what I wanted out of life than actually playing the game. The primary reason I went to law school was to follow in the footsteps of attorneys who led the professional sports leagues. Fay Vincent Jr. was commissioner of Major League Baseball about the same time as Paul Tagliabue took the reins at the NFL after the three-decade tenure of the legendary Pete Rozelle. Tagliabue earned a full scholarship to play basketball at Georgetown University prior to earning his law degree from New York University. Vincent was an athlete in college and earned his law degree from Yale University. David Stern, also a lawyer, became commissioner of the National Basketball Association in 1984, having worked his way up through the NBA ranks as their executive vice president and general counsel before being tapped for the job. Even the National Hockey League followed a similar path in promoting senior vice president and general counsel Gary Bettman (a Cornell graduate like me) to be its first commissioner. All four men were attorneys who worked within their leagues primarily in a legal capacity before attaining the position of commissioner.

When I joined the NFLPA as an intern in the summer of 1986, I was excited to be spending several months away from my law books. That my then girlfriend, Kim, also would be working in DC at a law firm that summer was an added bonus. We found an apartment in Alexandria, Virginia, right outside the city. Neither of us had given much thought at that point about whether the relationship would get serious, but we both had friends in the area. We saw only a summer with no books and a chance to determine if we were right for each other. Kim felt I was holding my true-feelings cards very close to the vest, which was likely true. My first love, undoubtedly, and my passion was my career in sports—off the field. I was willing to sacrifice anything to succeed.

I spent that summer shadowing the staff attorneys, helping to write briefs, and ironing out the details of a new mandatory drug-screening program for players. I worked closely with Buck Briggs, an NFLPA attorney who had preceded me at Cornell undergrad by about a decade. Buck recruited me to intern for the organization in 1982 after I met him on the sidelines of a Cornell football game during my sophomore year.

Buck was a bit nerdy and passionate about sports—particularly baseball, which he’d played in school. He collected a ton of memorabilia and had an incredible memory when it came to players’ stats and pretty much any other trivia question you could throw at him. He was a staunch Cornell alum who continued announcing the school’s games on the radio for years after he graduated, and he regularly made the trip from his home just outside Washington, DC, to Ithaca, New York, to teach a sports law class at the university. He even bought a house right on Cornell’s campus to accommodate his frequent visits.

It always amazed me how white people seemed to build such an instant and long-standing bond with their alma maters. To me, and to other black students I knew, these institutions were there solely to serve a purpose, to provide an education and degree and enhance our network. Now, years later, I connect to my college as a vehicle to help other minority students advance. Kim and I provide a full-tuition scholarship each year to one deserving female minority student majoring in science. I also served on the board of trustees at Cornell to address issues of diversity. I believe change is best effected from within. Still, I fully understand why many black people do not feel the hip-hip-hooray connection with their white alma maters.

African Americans typically make up far less than 10 percent of the entire student body at top-rated schools, into which they were not admitted until relatively recently. From the first day we walk through their hallowed halls, blacks are reminded that the schools’ history and lineage are devoid of people who resemble us. We are always among the scattered few faces of color in their lecture halls. Many of us scurry to find a semblance of familiarity in recently formed school organizations whose names start with the word Black. We, in large measure, face constant glares and hear disparaging words about affirmative action.


  • "Michael is very unique in that he has strong leadership and business skills, yet totally understands football and in particular the coaches and players mentality. That unique blend of talent along with some real smarts made him a successful leader. He was not only a role model for minorities in the league but for all young front office people." —Jerry Glanville, former head coach of the Atlanta Falcons
  • "I enjoyed interacting and collaborating with Michael for many years -while he was with the NFL Management Council, the Detroit Lions and the Jacksonville Jaguars - and I always appreciated and valued his insights and observations - I am delighted that he has chosen to share his experiences and his thoughts in BEHIND THE LINE OF SCRIMMAGE."—Amy Trask, author of Negotiate Like a Girl, ESPN anchor, and former CEO of the Oakland Raiders
  • "Michael is unique in that he combines brilliant knowledge of the sports industry along with integrity and a sense of identity. Even now he motivates me to want to do more in my life both professionally and off the course." —Jim Thorpe, PGA and Champions Tour winner
  • "Michael helped to guide not only my professional football career but my off the field life as well. He was not only my agent and business advisor but a close friend too." —Eric Crouch, former Heisman Trophy winner
  • "Michael and I have been strong friends for more than 30 years since we graduated from Michigan Law School together. As classmates we dreamed about starting our own sports agency but Michael truly stood out, landing a job at the NFL, and beginning a journey that is far from over. We have maintained our friendship ever since." —Bob Woodruff, former head anchor of ABC News
  • "Michael actually gave me my first job in the NFL front office with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He understood the importance of not only setting such a positive example for other minorities in the league but reaching out to help all along the way." —Doug Williams, Super Bowl winning quarterback of the Washington Redskins
  • "It was clear to me when I got involved in the UFL that if we were going to have any chance of success it was because of Michael's leadership. He understands the dynamics of organizing a professional football team and has the leadership skills to blend all of the personalities and egos of owners, coaches and players. He is a unique talent and a stand-up guy." —Jim Fassel, former head coach of the New York Giants
  • "Michael and I worked side by side during our time in the World League as general managers. We each attended Ivy League schools but entered the senior ranks of the NFL from two different perspectives, mine as a former player and his as an attorney. I have enjoyed watching Michael advance through the ranks of the NFL and have always considered him a good friend. His insights into the interworking's of and navigating through the NFL will be invaluable advice to those interested in careers in the professional sports industry."—Reggie Williams, former NFL All Pro Linebacker, Cincinnati City Councilman, NFL World League General Manager
  • "Michael signed me to an NFL contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars during their inaugural 1995 season. He was among the first black executives in charge of football operations in the League. He paved the way for other black executives and I was proud to see him in that leadership role.
"His book is an inspirational journey of facing the intersection of race and culture in professional sports and specifically the NFL.
"This is a must-read for anyone who ever wanted to be a fly on the wall to see, fully comprehend and appreciate the many challenges and obstacles that are unique to minorities in the workplace."—Desmond Howard, Former Heisman Trophy Winner and ESPN College Football Analyst

On Sale
Aug 28, 2018
Page Count
336 pages
Center Street

Michael Huyghue

About the Author

Michael Huyghue gained widespread prominence as the youngest and one of the first black general managers in professional football. He held a top leadership role in operations for the NFL owners and served as senior vice president for football operations of the start up NFL team Jacksonville Jaguars. (During the team’s first five seasons he lead the club to more wins than any new franchise in the history of the NFL, including a remarkable two AFC Championship game appearances.) Huyghue’s career also included stops at the Detroit Lions, the NFL Management Council and the NFL Players Association.

A lawyer by training, Huyghue lectures extensively on professional sports and sports law. He received his undergraduate degree from Cornell University, where he was a star football player and is a former member of the board of trustees. Huyghue earned his J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School and is admitted to the bar in New York, New Jersey and Michigan.

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