Taylor Scott ’21 broke new ground for the Department of Sport Management this summer as its first student to intern with the NFL Players Association. The NFLPA, located in Washington D.C., is the union for professional football players in the NFL and works to ensure proper recognition and representation of players’ interests.
Scott worked in the Executive Department conducting research to assist with various union operations, including the upcoming renegotiation of the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement in 2021. She also conducted legal and industry research for NFL Players Inc., the for-profit marketing and licensing subsidiary of the NFLPA.
Scott said she wanted to intern with the NFLPA because of its importance in the sports industry. The union has made plenty of recent headlines for its participation in current dialogues about the league’s national anthem policy, season length, and other prominent player’s rights issues.
“They not only play a pivotal role with the current issues facing the NFL, but they also serve as leaders and examples for the players associations of other leagues such as the NBA, MLB, and NHL,” Scott said.
Scott was also looking to become acquainted with the daily work of sports union attorneys and take advantage of excellent networking opportunities through her internship. According to Scott, this internship gave her the confidence to follow through on those (and future) opportunities.
“One of the major things I got from this internship is the confidence to present myself to important and powerful people,” Scott said. “I can truly say that there is not anybody that I am afraid to introduce myself to now.”
Scott said she learned that people are generally willing to offer advice as long as one asks for it. In fact, she had the opportunity to discuss her background and aspirations with some of the union's most powerful attorneys after simply expressing her interest in pursuing a legal career and asking for a few minutes of their time.
Scott enjoyed the “team first” atmosphere at the NFLPA, which puts significant effort into doing everything possible for the players and organizing bonding/social opportunities for employees.
“I was always excited to come into work because the people I worked with were so pleasant to be around, really cared about exposing me to as much as possible, and were so eager to provide any guidance regarding my future plans,” Scott said.
Scott, now a junior, had already performed four internships within the sport industry by the end of her sophomore year, including a year-long experience with the Houston Super Bowl Host Committee as a freshman. Professor in the Practice Tom Stallings believes these past experiences played a big role in Scott’s success with the NFLPA internship.
“It was very gratifying to have a Rice Sport Management student intern with the NFLPA this summer and Taylor was the perfect trailblazer to demonstrate what Rice students could offer an organization like the NFLPA,” Stallings said.
Scott is currently interning at Select Sports Group, an NFL agency. She plans on going straight to law school after graduation and thinks she will ultimately be looking to work in-house for a union, league, or team in the future. There is no doubt that her internship with the NFLPA will have been an invaluable experience no matter what path she follows next!
Elliot Stahr, a sophomore from Irvine, California, is majoring in Psychology and Philosophy and is the student writer for the Department of Sport Management.