NFL players to participate in Speakers Bureau at USC Annenberg

Thirty current and former NFL players will take part in the first annual NFL Speakers Bureau, three-day public speaking and digital storytelling program hosted by USC Annenberg from March 19–21. Chicago Bears linebacker Sam Acho, New York Jets linebacker Josh Martin and Carolina Panthers wide receiver Torrey Smith are among the players participating.  

NFL Player Engagement collaborated with USC Annenberg to develop this year’s curriculum, which focuses on strategic approaches to effective public speaking and digital storytelling. Throughout the week, panels composed of USC Annenberg faculty, NFL executives and mass media professionals will instruct and demonstrate techniques designed to strengthen the presentation skills of each participant. 

“The NFL Speakers Bureau provides players with the opportunity to learn and develop fundamental skills in fields of public motivational speaking and brand marketing,” said Arthur McAfee, senior vice president of NFL Player Engagement. “USC Annenberg brings together experienced faculty and industry experts to educate players on the business of public speaking, developing their message and delivering their story.”

The inaugural strategic communication education program includes the following sessions: “Communicating Race, Gender and Justice,” “Public Speaking: Inspiring, Influencing and Persuading,” and “The Playbook for Successful Storytelling,” as well as a number of sessions focused on digital storytelling and social media.

“We’re excited to offer NFL athletes the opportunity to immerse themselves in an engaging and practical curriculum developed and led by our outstanding faculty,” said Willow Bay, dean of USC Annenberg. “We know the players will benefit from our expertise in sports media, branding, strategic public relations, public speaking and digital communication.”

The Speakers Bureau is one of several career and professional development programs NFL Player Engagement offers to current and former players and their families. More than 25 players and their significant others took part in the fourth annual NFL Personal Finance Camp, where they gained an in-depth understanding of the financial world and established habits that will help maintain long-term financial stability.