Gender, race and sexual preference has long been a sticking point — to say the least — in terms of both sports and the general population.
While we as a nation and a planet have made significant strides towards equality on just about every front, the country is still waiting for its first openly gay player (although it may be happening far sooner than later) as well as for the first woman in complete charge of making personnel decisions in the NFL.
Although we may not be too far from that, either.
Ben Volin of the Palm Beach Post outlines the fact that Dawn Aponte could become the league’s first female General Manager.
Currently the Miami Dolphins’ VP of football administration, Aponte works extremely closely with general manager Jeff Ireland.
In fact, she currently has far more control over such things as contract negotiations and budgeting for that salary cap than most anyone realizes.
“Dawn will say ‘no’ when Jeff won’t,” a league source with knowledge of the team’s front office told Volin. “She doesn’t really have extemporaneous conversations. And she’s very ‘by the book’ with whatever stance the team has. But she’s done a fantastic job with making sure they’re one of the cap-healthiest teams in the NFL.”
The emergence of Aponte and the Dolphins’ current push towards respectability is not coincidence. Volin writes that Aponte played “bad cop” to Ireland’s “good cop” in the contract negotiations of such players as former star Pittsburgh wide receiver Mike Wallace, Baltimore linebacker Dannell Ellerbe and several others.
Aponte’s efforts not only helped bring those players aboard, but helped to get them signed to relatively cap-friendly contracts.
Miami has struggled for years, basically wallowing in mediocrity since Dan Marino retired. As the Dolphins push towards the future, Aponte will continue to be a huge part of the franchise’s Super Bowl efforts.
Unless, of course, she is provided the opportunity to take that next step as a general manager herself.