Leadership

"It is quite possible to work without results, but rest assured, never will there be results without work."

 
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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.

 
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Harry carson

Executive Director

Harry Carson’s 13-year stint with the New York Football Giants was one of the longest tenures in club history. The former linebacker played in 173 games and served as Team Captain for 10 of his 13 seasons including the 1986 season when the Giants defeated the Denver Broncos 39-20 in Super Bowl XXI. Once rated the #1 “Inside Linebacker” in NFL history according to Pro Football Weekly, Carson was named to the NFL All-Rookie Team after his first season. Subsequently, during his NFL career, he was named to the All-NFL Team 7 times, the All-NFC Team 8 times, and NFC Linebacker of the Year twice. He once made an amazing 25 tackles in a Monday Night Football Game against the Green Bay Packers. With performances like that he was selected by his peers to play in the NFC-AFC Pro Bowl 9 times. He is among the top 250 players to ever play professional football with his induction as the 231st member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Bill Belichick an assistant coach for the Giants for 12 years considers Carson “the best all-around linebacker” he ever coached!

 
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Suritia taylor

Director of Administration

Suritia Taylor joined FPA in 2013 as our Director of Administration. She currently handles daily operations, development, membership services and event management. In addition, she works alongside FPA’s other board members to fulfill our mission, promote diversity and inclusion and serve our members. She graduated from Howard University with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Communication with a minor in Business Administration. She is a native of Baltimore, Maryland.

 
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Craig richardson

Marketing Advisor

Craig joined the FPA board in 2004 to help oversee the organization’s fundraising and marketing efforts.  Through his efforts, the FPA is not only financially self-sustaining, but has been able to provide grants and scholarships to worthy organizations and individuals in need.  Craig is also the Founder and CEO of JustRivals.com, which allows companies to create unique and engaging viral content that directly leads users to a specific transaction or conversion on their website.  The company has over 200 partners including NASCAR, NFL Shop, Ticket Master, and Bloomingdales. Prior to starting JR, Craig was the Managing Director of Stadium Capital Financing Group, a sports subsidiary of Morgan Stanley that delivered marketing and financing solutions for professional and collegiate arenas and stadiums.  Craig has held senior management positions at Leigh Steinberg Sports Management, ABN Sports Management and First Ideas Marketing. In 2008, Craig founded the Rival Golf Classic, which annually brings together legends from the Giants, Cowboys, Eagles and Washington Football Club to raise money for select military causes including the PGA Mission of Hope.  Craig earned his undergraduate degree from Duke University and his MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and two daughters.

 
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Cyrus Mehri

Counsel

Cyrus Mehri is a founding partner of the law firm Mehri & Skalet, PLLC.  Mr. Mehri has served as 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 ($34 million; 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. Medicis ($7.2 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.

 
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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.

 
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Johnnie l. cochran, jr. 

In Emeritus

Attorney Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. is recognized as an outstanding trial lawyer, civil libertarian and philanthropist throughout the world. In 1966, he founded the law firm of Cochran, Atkins and Evans, and earned a reputation as an outstanding trial lawyer. In 1981 after a stint as prosecutor, he returned to private practice under the firm name, Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr., Inc. He is the only attorney, ever, in Los Angeles, to receive both the “Criminal Trial Lawyer of the Year” Award and the “Civil Trial Lawyer of the Year” Award. Over the years he continued to negotiate record settlements, including a settlement for $7.125 million dollars for Abner Louima. Mr. Cochran’s national law firm of Cochran, Cherry, Givens & Smith, P.C. is America’s largest plaintiff tort law firm. The firm now has offices in several states with dozens of lawyers devoted to civil trial litigation. Mr. Cochran, along with his new partners, has been recognized by the renowned legal publication, The National Law Journal, as an outstanding trial lawyer. Mr. Cochran attended more than thirty Super Bowls during his life and was a fan of the Rams and the Raiders.

Along with attorney Cyrus Mehri, Mr. Cochran co-authored the report, Black Coaches in the National Football League: Superior Performance, Inferior Opportunities. Mr. Cochran received countless awards for his service to the community and his unparalleled skill as a trial lawyer.

Mr. Cochran passed away on March 29, 2005. He is survived by his wife, Dr. Dale Mason Cochran, his father, Johnnie L. Cochran, Sr. and three children, Melodie, Tiffany and Jonathan.