I hear fans grumble all the time about those of us in the media interviewing players.
“Just let ‘em play football,” the old grouse goes. “We don’t care if they talk to you and they have no reason to give you an interview.”
Allow Troy Aikman to strongly disagree. Because this – my cynical friends – is how you play the game.
Sure it helped that Aikman was a three-time Super Bowl champ and Hall of Fame quarterback for the NFL’s most visible team. But it didn’t hurt that he was always open and available to the media, allowing his dry wit and personality to blossom to fans and, yep, future employers.
Aikman, of course, has developed into the one of the NFL’s best TV analysts. And on Friday he turned an off-the-field, pitch-man relationship into more money in one day than he made in his first four seasons as a Cowboy. The former star, who made $6 million as a Cowboy from 1989-1992, cashed out an undisclosed amount of shares he owned in Wingstop. On the first day it was publicly traded, the Dallas-based company saw the price of its share soar 60 percent.
In 2003, three years after he retired, Aikman signed an endorsement deal with Wingstop. At the time the company had 133 restaurants. Today there are more than 750, and he’s a member of the company’s board of directors.
So talking to the media isn’t only a responsibility laid out in an NFL player’s contract. It’s also an easy avenue to fortune after football.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.