Around 12 years ago, eager to try and get into the sports PR business, I agreed to take an internship with the Philadelphia Eagles (American football team, for those not familiar). I was excited – after-all, this was a team I had enthusiastically followed since being a child. I even ignored the fact that I wouldn’t be getting paid at all – the experience certainly would be worth it … at least for the short-term.
For the most part, I did grunt work – cutting out Eagles stories from the local papers, and faxing the stories to interested stakeholders … of course, this would’ve been much easier, had the internet been as advanced as it is now. I also wrote some stories and press releases which I really enjoyed, and was a liaison between the players and media who wanted to interview said players.
This, of course, meant that I frequently had to interact with the players … something I was initially excited about. However, many of the players didn’t give a damn about me, and quite a few of them were downright rude to me. Some of the main culprits were Ricky Watters (one of the biggest jerks I’ve ever met), and Charlie Garner – who didn’t seem to like anybody, including his own teammates.
After a few months of dealing with some of these divas, I couldn’t wait to get the heck outta there. Dealing with these players was more than a chore at times. However, not all were jerks – in fact, Rodney Peete and Ty Detmer were actually pretty cool to me, as was Michael Zordich, Irving Fryar, and Mike Mamula. But they were really the exceptions to the rule.
Rodney Peete had a holiday party for all players and staff right around Christmas time. By this point, I was so annoyed with the players that I decided not to bother going to this affair, even though I was sure it would be a good time. The Monday morning after the party, I walked into work and noticed that just about everybody had a framed picture of them with none other than Michael Jordan.
I walked by the first desk … it didn’t really faze me … I figured this person had the opportunity to meet him in the past. I walked by the second and third desks … they too had pictures with arguably the greatest basketball player of all time. Now, I was concerned – I hadn’t seen these pictures on the desks before. I asked one of my coworkers, who proudly explained that Jordan had been a guest of William Fuller’s at the party – apparently, the two have remained close friends since their days at North Carolina, and since Jordan was in town to play the Sixers, he agreed to come to the party … and to also have his picture taken with …. EVERYBODY THERE! Yep, leave it to me to miss out on this opportunity. Of course, that just seemed to be my luck when I was interning with the Eagles … how cool would that have been to get a picture with M.J.?