Jennifer King on her new role: ‘Representation is everything’

Jennifer King on her new role: 'Representation is everything' originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Washington Football Team’s Jennifer King being named assistant running backs coach for the 2021 season didn’t come as a surprise to anyone familiar with her.

A vast background of experience both playing and coaching football coupled with the fact that King had already done the job during the 2020 season while working as a coaching intern for the team made it the perfect move. 

However, the promotion was still a monumental one for King and the sports world. King’s position makes her the first African American woman to be an assistant coach in the NFL. That’s a major accomplishment for King, but it is also a trailblazing move that will positively impact the next generation of women.

With King patrolling the sidelines for Washington and doing something that has never been done before, it shows others that they can do it as well.

“It’s something that we don’t take lightly. I think it’s important that representation is everything,” King said on the latest Washington Football Talk Podcast. “Being able to be a figure that I didn’t have growing up is important. It’s so important for girls to see things because sometimes they don’t. To see people in powerful positions.”

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King likens it to what she experienced during her earlier years relating to Barack Obama becoming the first African American President in United States’  history.

“I remember growing up thinking Black people couldn’t be president cause I had never seen it before,” King said. “Didn’t think it could happen and it happened.”

By seeing something physically, King was able to understand that it was possible. Dreams for many became a reality because the barrier had been broken.

That’s something that King believes goes far beyond football. In any field, there needs to be diversity, acceptance and equality. It allows the younger generation to learn that nothing is beyond reach.

“Representation is so important just on race, gender, all levels I think it is important to have that,” King said.

Taking on her new role, King understands that she will be viewed as a trailblazer and role model to many. She’s grateful for that honor and ready to embrace it. Yet at the same time, her focus remains on the game football.

Her job is to coach, and that’s what she’s going to do.

“I really just stay in the moment. I really don’t think about all that stuff,” King said. “I just try to be better and make our team better every day and just do my part every week to try to have us ready to play on Sunday.” 

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