Increasingly mixing politics with football, the NFL players union is sponsoring a group of players currently interning for members of congress. The players work as “externs,” or interns sponsored by groups external to the usual congressional intern system, according to the Washington Post.
The NFL Players Association utilizes the program to encourage players to explore professions outside football, with some players interning at business such as Marriott, Under Armour, and Comcast SportsNet. But, this year three of the players also work as interns on Capitol Hill.
The players, Seattle Seahawks guard Will Pericak, Tennessee Titans lineman Karim Barton, and free agent defensive back Dion Bailey, have been tagging along with elected officials such as Sen. Cory Gardner (R, CO), to get a taste of life in Washington D.C.
Dion Bailey noted that his experience changed his idea of what really goes on in D.C. “It’s been refreshing to actually know that all of politics isn’t the stuff you see on CNN and what Trump’s doing every second,” Bailey said. “It’s refreshing to understand that there’s more going on, bigger problems and things that need to be addressed.” Bailey externs for Rep. Marcia L. Fudge (D, OH).
For his part, Pericak, who externs in Senator Gardner’s office, said that players should think about life after football. “From Day 1, everybody tells you that football won’t be your last job,” Pericak noted.
This is Titans player Karim Barton’s third year participating in the extern program. Barton has also interned at such places as a mattress company and a sports merchandise company but this year observes life in the office of Rep. Yvette D. Clarke (D, NY).
“You wouldn’t believe how much paper you see every day. I mean, wow,” Barton said.
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