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Harry carson

CHAIRMAN

Harry Carson is a native of Florence, South Carolina. Born on Thanksgiving Day (11/26/53) to Gladys and Edgar Charles Carson Sr. He is the youngest of 6 children. He attended and graduated from the public schools within the Florence School District.

Carson attended and graduated from South Carolina State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education. He went on to do graduate studies at South Carolina State and Fairleigh Dickinson University.

After his graduation from college he played professional football with the New York Football Giants in the National Football League. He played for 13 seasons (173 games). As a result of his play, Harry Carson became the 231st member of pro football to be inducted into the Professional Football Hall of Fame in 2006 in Canton, Ohio.


Carson is CEO and President of Harry Carson Inc. a Sports Consulting and Promotions Company. And he is the author of 2 books. Point of Attack was published in 1985 by McGraw-Hill and his second and more comprehensive book reflecting on his career and life after football Captain for Life was published by St. Martin’s Press in August 2011.


Carson serves as Chairman of the Fritz Pollard Alliance. The Alliance is an organization that represents all National Football League Minority Coaches, Coordinators, Scouts, Player Personnel and Game Day Officials dedicated to creating a greater sense of racial and gender diversity in non-player roles within the National Football League.


Carson is currently a Spokesperson for Hackensack Meridian Health and a Co-Host of the New York Football Giants game day magazine program Giants 1st and 10.


Aside from many academic and athletic high school, college and professional awards/honors his most important recognition could be that he is credited with being one of the very first former professional athletes to draw attention to the association of concussions (mild traumatic brain injuries) with neurological abnormalities in those who have participated in contact sports or have served in the military.


Utilizing his educational background, Harry Carson has long been an advocate on health-related issues. He has served as a spokesperson for the Bergen County, New Jersey Cancer Education and Early Detection Program and with the Professional Football Hall of Fame to increase the awareness of prostate cancer among men, especially Asian, Latino and African American Men.


Through education and his own personal experiences he has established himself as an open, extremely honest, very knowledgeable internationally recognized source on Concussions in Sports.


In a “lifetime” effort to “make a difference” in the lives of others, Harry Carson has worked with many organizations like the Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis where he serves as a member of the Board of Directors and Wynona’s House (an organization that help abused children and their families) by collecting toys and redistributing the toys and food in cooperation with the Newark Police Department to families in and around Newark, New Jersey communities during the Christmas season. This practice has grown to be called “Blue Christmas”. He has given much of his time and energy hosting and participating in many charity golf tournaments to benefit other “various” causes.


Aside from shining a light on specific health-related issues Carson has also been a very strong advocate toward the plight of his National Football League brethren. Instead of focusing on his own career achievements, he used his 2006 Pro Football Hall of Fame induction speech as an opportunity to highlight the issues of inadequate pensions and the need for improved benefits for retired NFL players.


He is a lecturer and speaker to diverse groups that range from juvenile and prison inmates to high school scholars, from college athletes to corporate executives and political leaders.

 
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Rod graves

executive director

Rod Graves is entering his first season with the Fritz Pollard Alliance as Executive Director. He joined the FPA after spending 37 years with the National Football League. His experience includes serving in a number of executive positions in the NFL including Senior Vice President Football Administration at the National Football League and General Manager of the Arizona Cardinals.

Graves’ primary duties as Executive Director will be to set organizational and policy initiatives, to oversee the development of programs that support the mission of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, to guide fundraising and sponsorship efforts, to govern day-to-day operations, set strategic objectives, to ensure the viability of the FPA, and to promote the brand and good-will of the Fritz Pollard Alliance.

He was promoted to Vice President, Football Operations in 2003 and was named General Manager in 2007. In February of 2010, he was rewarded for his role in shaping the team into back-to-back division champions when he received a contract extension through 2013. 

Graves, 60, began his career in professional football in 1982 as a area scout for the Philadelphia Stars of the United States Football League. He joined the National Football League in 1984 as a regional scout for the Chicago Bears, a position he held until promoted to director of college scouting in 1993. In 1994, he was promoted to director of player personnel.

In 1997, Graves joined the Arizona Cardinals as Assistant to the President. He was promoted to Vice President Football Operations in 2003 and was named General Manager in 2007 with departmental responsibility for operations, strategic planning, budgeting, player acquisitions, contract negotiations, and scouting. During his tenure as GM, he served as one of the longest-tenured personnel decision makers in the NFL.

In 2013, Graves joined the New York Jets as Senior Director of Football Administration. He was later asked to join the National Football League in 2015 as Senior Vice President of Football Administration and Club Services.

In February of 2011, Graves received the Paul “Tank” Younger Award from the Fritz Pollard Alliance. The annual honor is given to an individual who displays outstanding work, on and off the field, in leveling the playing field for minorities in the NFL.

Consistent with his commitment to service, Rod and his wife Dreama, devote their time and resources to supporting charitable organizations such as The United Way and The American Diabetes Association.

Rod is a graduate of Pace University. He is also the son of the late Jackie Graves, former player personnel executive of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Rod and Dreama reside in Bethesda, MD. The have three children: daughters, Brittany & Taylor, and son, Joshua.

 
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JOHN WOOTEN

CHAIRMAN

Born on December 5, 1936 in Riverview, Texas, John attended Carlsbad High School in Carlsbad, New Mexico. He is a graduate of the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education.

Drafted in 1959 by the Cleveland Browns, his addition to the team proved to be one of the most important drafts in the history of the Cleveland Browns. John played for the Cleveland Browns from 1959 to 1967, then the Washington Redskins from 1967 to 1968. During the off seasons of 1960-1963 he was a junior high school teacher at Addison Junior High School in Cleveland, Ohio.

John’s NFL career did not stop on the field. He continued by becoming the Director of Pro Scouting with the Dallas Cowboys from 1975 to 1991. He created Player Programs/Player Development programs for the NFL in 1991. He served as Vice President/Player Personnel for the Philadelphia Eagles in 1992 and also served as Assistant Director, Pro/College Scouting for the Baltimore Ravens until his retirement in 2002.

John has been involved with the NFL for over forty years and currently serves as the Chairman of the Fritz Pollard Alliance. He is also the President of Wooten Printing and an Independent Associate of Ignite/Stream Energy, located in Dallas, Texas.

Honors include All State Football and Basketball in high school, Associated Press All-Big Seven, All American Honors at Offensive Guard at the University of Colorado in 1958. He was named to the Chicago Tribune’s College All Star Game in 1959, Sporting News NFL All Star Team in 1965, named to the NFL Pro Team teams in 1966 and 1967, Cleveland Browns All-Time All-Star Team in 1979, and University of Colorado’s All-Century Football in 1989. He was inducted into the Texas Black Sports Hall of Fame in 2002, Colorado Hall of Fame in 2004 and Colorado Honored Jersey in 2005. In addition, he was inducted into the Cleveland Browns Legends Club in November 2010, elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2013 and in 2018 was inducted into the New Mexico Hall of Fame. He also has three NFL World Championship rings.

John has a deep commitment to the communities in which he has lived and understands the value of giving back. He has served on the Board of Directors of Big Brothers in Cleveland, Ohio, Member of City Planning Commission in Cleveland and has been awarded the William O. Walker Community Excellence Honoree in 2002 in Cleveland and was a member of the National Minority Economic Development Council under the Johnson Administration. John is a member of Saint Maria Goretti Catholic Church in Arlington, Texas.

John and his wife, Juanita, currently reside in Arlington, Texas. They have five children together: Adrienne, Gina, Jennifer, Lynette, John David (deceased – May 10, 2009);  five grandchildren, Lauren, Gabriel, Michael, Quentin and Sydney and one great grandson, Amani.

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CYRUS MEHRI

Co-Founder

Cyrus Mehri co-founded the Fritz Pollard Alliance along with the late Johnnie Cochran, Jr. in 2003.   Cyrus Mehri is also a founding partner of the law firm of Mehri & Skalet, PLLC, and a founding principal of Working Ideal, a consulting company. Mr. Mehri has served as a co-lead class counsel in some of the largest and most significant race and gender cases in U.S. history: Roberts v. Texaco Inc., ($176 million; S.D. N.Y. 1997); Ingram v. The Coca Cola Company ($192 million; N.D. Ga. 2001); Robinson v. Ford Motor Company ($10 million and 279 apprentice positions; S.D. Ohio 2005); August-Johnson v Morgan Stanley ($47 million; D.D.C 2007); Amachoev v. Smith Barney ($34million; N.D. Cal. 2008); Norflet v. John Hancock Life Insurance Co. ($24 million; D. Conn. 2009) Carter v. Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC ($32 million; D.D.C. 2011) and Brown v. Medics ($72 million; D.D.C 2015, sexual harassment class action case).  The hallmark of these settlements is innovative programmatic relief; including the creation of new selection procedures for advancement. Mr. Mehri served as co-lead counsel in the Pars Equality Center case challenging the Trump Travel Ban, which was cited favorably by both Supreme Court dissents.  

Mr. Mehri also helped create the “Rooney Rule” which has resulted in a record number of minority head coaches and general managers in National Football League.   Since the adoption of the Rooney Rule, 10 super bowl teams have been led by a minority coach or general manager. In addition, he helped to develop the NFL Player Assessment Test which assesses the non-physical, cognitive and psychological attributes of prospective NFL players.  

Corporate Counsel magazine described Mr. Mehri as “the one who pushed racial discrimination suits to the top of Corporate America’s agenda.”  Fast Company magazine said: “He is something of a one-man army in the battle against business as usual… [H]is impact – both in terms of penalties and remedies – is undeniable.”  The New York Times said “Mr. Mehri’s vision for corporate America involves sweeping change, not the piecemeal kind.”

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N. JEREMI DURU

COUNSEL

N. Jeremi Duru, a Professor of Law at American University’s Washington College of Law, serves as “of counsel” to the Fritz Pollard Alliance. Before entering academia, Professor Duru was an associate at Mehri & Skalet, PLLC in Washington, DC.

Professor Duru is among the nation’s foremost sports law authorities. He is a co-author of one of the field’s premier casebooks, Sports Law and Regulation: Cases and Materials (4th edition) (Wolters Kluwer), as well as one of the field’s premier explorations of sports agency, The Business of Sports Agents (3rd edition) (U. of Penn Press). In addition, he is the sole author of Advancing the Ball: Race, Reformation, and the Quest for Equal Coaching Opportunity in the NFL (Oxford University Press), which examines the NFL’s movement toward increased equality of opportunity for coaches and front office personnel.

Professor Duru is active in the national sports law community, serving as a member of the United States Anti-Doping Agency’s Anti-Doping Review Board and the National Sports Law Institute’s Board of Advisors, but he also frequently lectures and consults abroad.  Among other international engagements, Professor Duru has taught and studied on a Fulbright Fellowship at Faculdades Integradas Helio Alonso in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and has served as a visiting professor at the University of Sydney in Sydney, Australia and the China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing, China.

Professor Duru is widely recognized for his excellence as both an advocate and a teacher.  He has received the National Bar Association’s Sports and Entertainment Lawyer of the Year Award as well as the American University Faculty Award for Outstanding Teaching and the Washington College of Law Award for Excellence in Teaching.  In addition, before joining the WCL faculty, while teaching at Temple Law School, Professor Duru received Temple’s George P. Williams Outstanding Law Professor of the Year Award.

Professor Duru received his undergraduate education at Brown University and then completed a joint-degree program at Harvard University, receiving a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government and a Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School.  Upon graduation, Professor Duru served as a law clerk to the Honorable Damon J. Keith of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

Professor Duru is a frequent media contributor and has provided commentary for numerous media outlets, including CNN, BBC, NBC, MSNBC, Fox, ESPN, NPR, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Philadelphia Inquirer.