NFL Players Association Visits Rice University

NFL Players Association Visits Rice University

As Super Bowl LI between the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons approached in February, Rice University students were given the unique opportunity to partake in a panel discussion with three executives from the NFL Players Association. Among these leaders were George Atallah, Assistant Executive Director of External Affairs of the NFL Players Association, Teri Patterson Smith, Deputy Managing Director and Special Counsel to the NFL Players Association, and Ahmad Nassar, President of NFL Players Incorporated. Together these three led a seminar on “The Business of Football” to over 100 sport management students on Rice’s campus.

NFLPA speakers

Each executive discussed their individual role in working with the players of the NFL and specifically what kind of work they were involved in on a day-to-day basis. Nassar talked about the licensing and marketing business of the Players Association regarding how commercial negotiations with partners such as Nike and ESPN are structured. Atallah then informed students on how he has dealt with external affairs in the media such as the 2011 NFL Lockout and crisis situations like that of Ray Rice. Smith examined her role in the matter of legal affairs, explaining the varying situations and cases she has come across since 2009 when she was named the first female counsel of the NFL Players Association.

Students were then allowed to ask questions in an interactive manner that gave them a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

"Our department greatly benefits from being located in a World Class sports city like Houston because we have the opportunity to host events like the NFLPA panel discussion,” said Dr. Clark Haptonstall, chair of the Department of Sport Management. “Our students were able to interact closely with some very prominent directors of the NFLPA, who are involved in significant business dealings with NFL players every day.”

This panel discussion gave these Rice students insight into the various topics the NFL Players Association attends to while also offering the opportunity to drive a conversation with executives on sensitive topics such as domestic violence, drug use, and the recent travel ban. This event was one of many during Super Bowl week that Rice sport management students were given access to, exemplifying the strong bond and ties the university has within the Houston community as well as the organizations that host events in the city.


Brandt Frazier, a junior from Houston, TX, is majoring in Sport Management with a minor in Business.