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This Missouri j-school grad changed the NFL

Bryndon Minter is manager, social video at the National Football League (NFL)

Bryndon Minter changed NFL history when he went rogue earlier this month to produce an anti-racism video with the League’s leading players. That video prompted commissioner Roger Goodell to say the words players had been waiting years to hear: Black lives matter. Minter’s history of going rogue started much earlier, though, when he was an undergraduate at the University of Missouri, studying broadcast journalism and then strategic communications. 

“While I was in a class in sports marketing, I had access to football highlights … and I was inspired to make a Mizzou football hype video, because that’s what I saw other creatives doing across sports,” said Minter, who graduated from Missouri in 2015. “So, when I did that and posted it to my own YouTube, it ended up performing better than the official Mizzou football video. And so the people in Athletics said, ‘Hey, you shouldn’t have done that, but cool video, you have a job if you want.’ So, that is how the first gig in sports happened.”

That reel led him to work for the university and then for the Kansas City Royals, where he landed a job after messaging 10 different people named Jana until he found the right one on their social marketing team. The Royals didn’t have a job, but they “had a lot of work,” so he started doing it until he became an employee. 

From the Royals, he moved to L.A. to work for Fox Sports and then to the NFL, where he is currently a Social Media Creative Producer who oversees a team of seven. 

When George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer, Minter spent time listening to his Black colleagues and the League’s players. Being with the League since 2017, when players protested police brutality by taking a knee during the national anthem, Minter knew “the turmoil and frustration on the field, on the sidelines and off the field.” He attributes his ability to “understand those perspectives” and address “my own biases as a white man” to “what I learned at Mizzou, in courses such as cross-cultural journalism with Dr. (Cynthia) Frisby.”

Based on what he heard and what he believed, Minter wanted the League to take a clearer and stronger stand against racism. So he went rogue again, and messaged New Orleans Saints receiver Michael Thomas the night of Thursday, June 4. Thomas responded within moments. 

Minter knew he could get fired for approaching the players directly, but he said it was worth the risk. 

Thomas “didn’t know who I was,” Minter said in an interview, but he saw the message request on Instagram and “was very interested” in working with Minter on creating a video that would speak to the league in the players’ voices. 

Minter was on a neighborhood walk, talking on the phone with a colleague, when he realized the script for the video could express what players and fans have been wanting the League to say. He “ran back to my house and we got a Google Doc started, typing away,” curating comments from colleagues and players.

That was the script Minter sent Thomas. “We went back and forth a little bit on specific points,  what he liked, what he didn’t like, and by the time he went to bed, he said, ‘Hey, tomorrow morning, we’ll get on this. I’ll send it to the best 10 guys. We just need to have lines player by player and and have this super easy to understand and we’ll go from there.’ And then when I woke up, I already had three guys having sent in videos.” 

When he woke up, Minter told his boss what he’d done, and his boss told his boss and so on. Minter edited together the player videos, and the campaign went public. Within 24 hours, Goodell recorded a video of his own, reversing the League’s views on player protests and explicitly condemning racism. Over the next few days, Minter exchanged emails with Goodell, whom he had met once briefly, about continuing the league’s social justice work with leadership from Black colleagues.

Minter hopes to “use my privilege as a white male to be anti-racist and use my experience as a social media professional to make content that meets white people where they’re at.” As a Missourian who grew up with white people that rarely (if ever) interacted with anyone of color, he believes “fans of football, fans of Black players” should hear directly from Black players, “This is what we believe. This is something that needs to be addressed. And if you support us on the field on Sundays, you need to support us off the field and understand where we’re coming from as Black men in America.”

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