Less than a year ago, Brandon Phillips and Jade Cargill began their journey as co-owners and decision-makers for the Austin-based professional softball franchise, Texas Smoke. Under their ownership, the team secured the Women’s Professional Fastpitch softball championship in its first season.
Now, Phillips and Cargill are reflecting on what it means to be one of the very few Black owners of sports franchises in history—and what it means to do it together. “How many people can really say that I was co-owner with my queen?” Phillips said. “And we won a championship.” According to NBCDFW, the couple have their own storied careers in sports to thank for their passion to change the landscape of ownership across leagues. Phillips was a World Series champion, All-Star, and Gold Glove winner during his 17-year MLB career, while Cargill played Division I college basketball for Jacksonville and is now a premiere performer for All Elite Wrestling, where she’s already notched a championship.
Though the NBA, MLB, and NFL are filled with Black talent, the decision-makers and power players are not representative of a diverse landscape. By and large, sports ownership is white and male. Minority stakes in sports teams by former athletes and Black entertainers have risen over the last decade; however, Phillips and Cargill have turned over a new and exciting leaf by venturing outside the more popular sports leagues to attain more ownership and control. “That’s a statement by itself and can be a signal to other potential Black owners — that they don’t have to have an ownership in an NBA team or an NFL team,” said Richard Lapchick, director of the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport. “They can get ownership in a different sport where the buy-in is going to be something I can afford, yet I can still have an impact.”
For Phillips and Cargill, it’s all about representation and showing the next generation what’s possible. “In the new generation, just people that look like us in general, they’ll be like, ‘Oh my God, it’s been done before,’” Phillips said. “I mean, (President Barack) Obama — nobody thought there’d be a Black president. But guess what? It happens.”
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Source: Black Enterprise