In the third episode of Leveling the Playing Field, Bobbi-Sue Doyle-Hazard speaks with Denise White, CEO of EAG Sports Management. EAG Sports Management has been servicing the PR, Marketing, Personal, and Business needs of high profile professional athletes for almost two decades. Denise’s professional career began as a traffic reporter and then on to being a production assistant in Hollywood. It was during her time working on the show “Sparks” when she met the man who would give her the nudge to open her own shop. That man is the one and only Samuel L. Jackson. Denise quickly realized that there was a niche that needed to be filled in the sports industry, particularly with football players in the NFL. She created EAG Sports Management to fill that niche and has been killing it ever since. Bobbi-Sue and Denise talk about the curvy path Denise took to where she is now.
They also talk for quite a while about mental illness. Denise’s mom was schizophrenic, bipolar and manic depressive. Due to the shame Denise felt growing up, she never talked about it. That is until her client, Brandon Marshall, was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and wanted to use his platform to speak out about it to bring awareness and break the stigma. Bobbi-Sue opens up about her mother’s mental health struggles and her own issues with depression and anxiety. Denise also talks about Project 375 and how the foundation is helping children get help for mental illness.
In between the serious discussions, there are some lighter topics touched on such as the movie being made about Denise’s life starring Jennifer Aniston (“The Fixer“), Denise and Bobbi-Sue’s love of animals, and Bobbi-Sue’s random obsession with goats thanks to the @GoatsofAnarchy Instagram.
This episode is full of information about the agency world, how crisis management is now a major part of the role, and an inside view of what the advisors of athletes see in professional sports.
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Additional Show Notes:
- Bobbi-Sue starts the show off by basically complimenting herself while bringing up Denise’s Ms. Oregon USA and Ms. Congeniality titles. (Hint: there’s a Sandra Bullock reference)
- Denise originally thought she was going to be a reporter. Her first job was as a traffic reporter. She thought she would continue her career in broadcasting.
- Denise and Bobbi-Sue bond over being cross-country runners. Denise’s true love with playing sports was softball.
- When asked “why put kids in sports?”, Denise has some valuable advice for parents.
- Samuel L Jackson is the one who nudged Denise to start her own business instead of being a production assistant. This story has some great learning moments for people thinking of working in sports or entertainment.
- Tony Gonzalez was her first client in professional sports.
- Denise saw a need that wasn’t being filled by traditional sports agents. Athletes needed someone to handle their PR, image, and marketing needs, foundation assistance, and crisis management.
- She certainly had to deal with her fair share of misogyny as she started out. It’s been “easier” in the last 10 years because people realized she wasn’t going away and was good at what she does
- Her current client list is pretty impressive. BSDH was happy to see that Denise represents Christen Press of USWNT and Chicago Red Stars.
- Bobbi-Sue and Denise discuss the differences between a traditional agency and a full-service agency like hers.
- Denise talks about working with Brandon Marshall and his mental illness diagnosis, Project 375, her mother’s mental illness, and Bobbi-Sue shares her story regarding mental health.
- Denise’s life is being made into a movie and Jennifer Aniston is playing her. Bobbi-Sue wants to hang out with Denise and Jen.
- Denise was a child that was in and out of foster homes and child placement centers. Each Christmas, she now does events for the kids who are in placement centers around the country.
- ” I never in a million years thought I’d be working sports”
- “It’s such a fluke on how I even ended up doing this”
- “I’m the slow as you go girl” – Re: running cross country
- “It’s just a huge opportunity for your child to learn how to work with people for the one goal.” – Why Denise believes kids should play sports.
- “For me, it was not a big deal because I was there doing a job. Unlike other people, I just didn’t care.” – Denise’s attitude towards seeing SLJ on set.
- “You are too smart for this” – SLJ to Denise
- “Find your niche, find something that you really care about, and do it” SLJ to Denise
- “There was not a one stop shop where athletes could get all their needs serviced in one place without having to talk to five people a day.”
- “For first 10 years, it was definitely like trying to conquer the naysayers and the people that just couldn’t understand why I was becoming successful in a male dominated industry and representing some of the biggest names in the NFL.”
- “So few people take a straight line to where they’re at and/or even envision where they’re at” – BSDH
- “It was really a moment where he taught me something.” – Denise talking about Brandon Marshall coming out about his mental health issues.
- “Of course you can play me, this is ridiculous. I can’t even believe this is happening.” – Denise to herself after Jennifer Aniston asked if she could play Denise
- “I looked at my phone thinking, who’s going to believe this?”
- “Do you HAVE to hang out with Jen Aniston?” Bobbi-Sue in awe
Follow the Leader:
Extra Credit Reading/Watching:
- “Jennifer Aniston to play crisis manager Denise White in The Fixer” (Entertainment Weekly)
- “The Woman Who Bails Out the NFL’s Bad Boys” (Men’s Journal)
- “Brandon Marshall Has Borderline Personality Disorder. What is it?” (HuffPo)
- “NY Jets WR Brandon Marshall and his battle with borderline personality disorder” (NY Daily News)
- “The Stigma” (By Brandon Marshall – Player’s Tribune)