Several years ago RSR ventured down a path to engage with the women who are among the Ravens fan base. The idea was to deliver football through the eyes of women – an idea born from a friend’s observations during a game played back on November 24, 2011.
The game was dubbed “The Harbaugh Bowl”, the first ever meeting on an NFL field between two head coaches who are siblings. The brothers John and Jim squared off for the first time with the host team the Ravens, beating the 49ers by the score of 16-6 on a balmy Baltimore Thanksgiving night. We had our usual game day takeaways and posted them on what was then Ravens247.com. But the takeaway that resonated the most with me was one from a friend, Krys Renzi.
Krys is a Mom of three boys and she expressed the compassion and empathy that she felt for Jackie Harbaugh, the mother of John and Jim Harbaugh. She wondered aloud how torn Jackie must feel about the game, one that was being presented on a national stage involving her boys – one who would lose, one who would win. Krys reasoned that Jackie would run through the full gamut of emotion – a victory and a loss. How could she be happy for one son while consoling the other?
It’s a thought that admittedly never crossed my mind and the fact that it didn’t made me take pause and ponder…
“Could we develop a Ravens website for women run by women to provide a new perspective on the NFL?”
Soon thereafter the concept for BmoreChix.com was born.
The website was a failure, not because the stories weren’t good. It just wasn’t strong enough to stand on its own. The diehard fans who were women, still sought out the content that we provided on Ravens247.com. After a couple of years we realized that the expense of BmoreChix.com relative to the interest in it, wasn’t a match and we turned out the proverbial lights on the site and wrote it off as an expensive lesson.
I’m not sure why we didn’t continue posting stories from the wonderful ladies who wrote for BmoreChix.com on Ravens247.com. Maybe the burn from the lesson pushed us away and closed our collective minds to the possibility. Maybe we should reconsider the idea.
Recently BaltimoreRavens.com launched a new podcast, “The Purple Chair” with host Cassie Calvert. Judging from the first episode featuring Lacie DeCosta, the wife of Ravens GM Eric DeCosta, BR.com is feeling the same vibe we felt nearly a decade ago. And hopefully they’ll get it right where we failed.
Many years ago when Eric was the Director of Player Personnel for the Ravens, I had Lacie on our radio program GAMETIME that aired on what was then ESPN 1300. Eric had shared stories with me about the challenges that NFL scouts faced on the road – the 180 nights per year away from home, working out of suitcases; washing clothes in the bathtubs of remote motels and hanging them over the shower curtain to dry. It wasn’t glamorous but it was necessary.
Upon hearing the stories, I wondered how the wives or significant others of these road warriors managed. How dedicated were they to enable the men in their lives to pursue a dream – to build a substantive career in the NFL? What were their sacrifices and how did they cope when the man in their respective lives was gone literally half the year? This was among the topics that Lacie and I focused upon.
Lacie’s presence is that of a sincere, kind, caring and compassionate woman born into a family that treasured such character traits. She’s the type that sees the glass as half-filled and problems as opportunities dressed in work clothes. And I have absolutely no doubt that she continually instills these values in each of her own three children.
Lacie was Cassie’s first guest on The Purple Chair and upon hearing that, I knew Cassie made the perfect choice to kick off what promises to be an interesting podcast. During the podcast Cassie labeled the DeCosta Family as “the first family of football”. The DeCosta children are huge Ravens fans and each has their own collection of player jerseys. And how cool is it that the youngest in the family is named Jackson, well before Lamar became a Raven? The moniker, “the first family of football” seemed innocent and appropriate.
Unless of course your name is Ken Weinman or Jason LaCanfora.
More than once the pair who host Inside Access on 105.7 The Fan, have taken shots at the DeCosta Family, mocking the “first family of football” label. I’m not surprised. This pairing takes shots when and wherever they can. They are smug and condescending. And should your opinion differ from theirs, then consider your opinion wrong. They’ll use the radio drop button as a weapon to ensure the debate goes down in the win column for them.
Weinman regularly trumpets his own opinion as gospel while LaCanfora practically eats the microphone, screaming like a petulant child whose Mom just told him that it was time to leave Chuck E. Cheese. His is a voice that might be a good fit for an animated movie while Weinman, albeit well-informed, comes off as whiny in such an overt way that it fits his namesake like a glove.
They’ve regularly mocked Jaylon Ferguson. It’s ok to criticize a player’s performance. When you play in the NFL that in part is what you sign up for. The same goes for Eric DeCosta. If he makes a bad move, it’s fair game for talk radio. But don’t make it personal. Don’t mock the player’s leadership and don’t mock the DeCosta Family just because BR.com labeled them the first family. It’s just mean-spirited.
Imagine driving home from school with your children, tuning into The Fan with hopes of celebrating a big win in Denver, only for your kids to hear the hosts mocking YOUR family. That’s what Lacie had to deal with. They didn’t ask for the first family status yet the impressionable DeCosta boys are subjected to ridicule during a moment when they thought they’d be celebrating the accomplishments of their Dad’s employer.
I’m not sure how Eric will handle this and his relationship with 105.7 The Fan. He’s been an accessible GM willing to give of his time for the benefit of fans – more so than his predecessor. But now you have to wonder. Will he give of his time to the station? Would you? Will Weinman’s and LaCanfora’s juvenile antics cost their colleagues access to DeCosta during the morning and mid-day slots?
Time will tell. Time heals wounds and hopefully that happens sooner rather than later for the DeCosta Family. Hopefully this Inside Access pair haven’t undermined Lacie’s spirit to the point where she chooses not to engage in her upbeat and positive way on Twitter.
And hopefully Weinman and LaCanfora have learned a lesson .
But I’m not holding my breath.
Here’s to Lacie, Cassie and The Purple Chair. May the light of the podcast always shine on the women with connectivity to the Ravens. And may they not be afraid to turn the light up full blast just because two childish guys with a microphone dampened their enthusiasm.
Two guys who might soon have Limited Access.