Wednesday night, Dany Garcia and The Rock went on VICE TV’s weekly show Stick to Sports, hosted by Cari Champion and Jemele Hill, to talk about buying the league, social justice, and their stance on kneeling during pregame festivities.
Johnson talked about how purchasing the league came about, which is an interesting story in its own right. He says Dany texted him that they needed to talk. He mentions she usually adds, “when you’re free”, but this time, there was a sense of urgency.
“Let’s go buy the XFL,” Dany said. His response? “I am in.” It didn’t take much to get Johnson on board, and so far, we have seen that they are serious about the success of the league.
Choosing to go in fully prepared and not in a rush, keeping league president Jeffrey Pollack involved, carefully choosing which contracts to keep and which ones to reject, all point to a serious business plan. Fans should be very excited about what’s to come.
A big reason The Rock was so supportive of the idea to buy the league was that there were limited options for him when he came out of the University of Miami.
Undrafted, he tried the CFL. When that also didn’t work, he had to shut the door on his football career. He says this opportunity touched his soul, and gave him the ability to give today’s players the chance that he didn’t have, to continue their dreams.
If that doesn’t fire you up for the future of the XFL, I don’t know what will.
The next topic they discussed with Cari and Jemele was their stance on peaceful protesting in the league. This has been a divisive topic amongst fans. Many of whom are very supportive, but there are those that still see it as a political statement that should “stay out of sports”.
Which is why the title of the show, Stick to Sports, is so tongue-in-cheek. Sports has never been apolitical. Today, all major sports, including college and high school, have embraced the social justice movement, and allow forms of silent protest.
Still, the topic is a sensitive one. Fans aren’t usually on the fence about it, they either love it or hate it. You’ll see arguments on social media about whether it’s a good idea, alongside claims of people choosing to boycott if leagues allow the protests.
While we want the XFL to have an abundance of fans, and my views are not necessarily the same as the XFL News Hub, the fight for social justice is not political. It’s humanitarian.
Which exactly why the new ownership has changed the policy on kneeling in the XFL. McMahon was against it, but it should be noted that we weren’t in the same space and time we are today.
At the time, no league was allowing protests. The NFL has changed their opinion on it. In other leagues, it was in player contracts that they had to stand for the anthem.
Now the NFL has changed its position, as has NASCAR, the NBA, and the MLB. Even the NHL has allowed forms of awareness to be on the ice.
College sports has allowed self-expression from the players, something they have fought since the NCAA’s inception.
Dany emphasizes that the XFL is a “league of culture”, and that it’s not about the owners, the players aren’t just employees hired to do a job. “The XFL is all of us,” Dany said, before adding this:
“Patriotism is not indifferent. Patriotism is fighting, representing, and celebrating, and calling out; what’s wrong with the country you love? And so what we look for is, if a player wants to kneel, if a player wants to stand, let them do it in unity, but they get to be diversified in expression.”Dany Garcia, on VICE TV’s Stick to Sports
On Friday, she shared this, via Instagram:
Johnson added this:
“For us as owners, it’s our job to identify what their pain is, and to take care of them.”The Rock, on VICE TV’s Stick to Sports
The next topic of conversation was highlighting the fact that Dany is the first female owner of a major sports league, and how inspiring it is for so many girls, and women, to see her doing this. Dany had this to say:
“I didn’t set out to be the woman who owns a major sports league. But I did set out to follow something I was very passionate about, and be a LEADER, in the execution of that passion.”Dany on being a female owner
After the serious topics were talked about, Cari and Jemele asked some fun with Dany and The rock, asking some “do or don’t” questions.
Do or don’t grunt when lifting weights, do or don’t sing out loud with headphones on, and whether or not to have cheat day?
We’re gonna make you watch to hear their answers. You can find the episode either through your cable provider or on the network’s website at vicetv.com.
For the Love of Football