Just hours before getting the job, Detroit Lions owner Sheila Ford Hamp received a teleconference call from Zoom to answer 30 minutes of media questions. Topics ranged from Colin Kaepernick to what has failed the Lions in the past 60 years and how she plans to operate differently than her mother and father.
These are the top five conclusions from the Ford Hamp introductory press conference.
The decision was made by Martha Ford, who is healthy
Out of the blue, Ford Hamp wanted to stop any speculation on its way, noting that the change of ownership was entirely the decision of former owner Martha Firestone Ford. Despite his 94-year-old age, his health had nothing to do with it.
“It was really my mother’s decision,” said Ford Hamp. “She is totally fine and healthy, by the way. I just want to get that out there. “
The timing of the decision had much more to do with the fact that not much is happening in soccer right now, with the offseason program ending last week.
“Instead of making a change closer to the season or once things started, this seemed like a good time to do it,” said Ford Hamp. “It gives me six weeks or so to get some mileage before I open boot camp (and locate myself) and find out exactly how I’m going to do this job.”
She plans to be “practical” but doesn’t intrude on every decision
Ford Hamp’s first plan at work is to know as much about the organization as he can before everything changes. She wants to take an aggressive approach.
“I plan to be very practical,” said Ford Hamp. “One of my first things I want to do is configure with [Team President] dipstick [Wood] some meetings with other parts of the organization that I really don’t know well. I really want to dive deep and understand the whole thing. ”
That said, he doesn’t have an immediate plan to change much, or as he humorously put it, “I don’t have a hit list or anything.”
And don’t make the mistake of believing this is just a side gig for Ford Hamp. Being raised by a soccer family and going to games since she was a child helped forge an inherent love for the NFL.
“When I graduated from college, all I wanted to do was work for the NFL,” admitted Ford Hamp.
It will also respect the limits of some of the employees below it on the totem pole.
“I don’t plan to meddle, but I plan to be informed enough to make good decisions at the top,” said Ford Hamp.
She supports the players’ peaceful protests and would have no problem signing Colin Kaepernick.
In 2016, the property essentially asked players to stop kneeling during the anthem by reaching an agreement that they would financially support a set of social justice initiatives.
Now that the conversation in this country has drastically changed, Ford Hamp says the team’s stance has changed with it.
“I think the understanding is completely different now,” said Ford Hamp. “I think most people really understand what kneeling was about. I know that the Commissioner has said, and I fully agree, that we support our players’ right to peaceful protest. We support the First Amendment. ”
When it comes to former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, Ford Hamp says he would not veto a decision to sign the quarterback if training and administration staff believe it is the right decision.
“If our coaches and our general manager thought it was a good idea to bring him in, I would fully support him.”
She hates to lose
A common theme during the Ford Hamp introductory press conference was his hatred and frustration at losing.
“I can absolutely guarantee that for me and my family, we are very upset when we lose,” said Ford Hamp. “There is nothing that makes us feel more upset.”
“I can guarantee that no one hates to lose more than me and my family.”
“I am a very competitive person. I grew up playing competitive tennis and it is an individual sport and it was me alone and I hated losing. I still hate losing. So I guess that’s my message to the fans: I will hate to lose as much as they do and try not to. ”
Matt Patricia / Bob Quinn’s term doesn’t have a specific ultimatum, but she needs to see “significant improvement”
In December, when the property decided to keep head coach Matt Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn for another year, a joint decision, according to Ford Hamp, much consideration was given to a semi-ultimatum made by the Lions property. In a joint statement by Sheila Ford Hamp, Rod Wood and Martha Firestone Ford, the team announced, “Our expectation is for the Lions to be a playoff contender in 2020.”
When asked to specify now that she is fully in charge, Ford Hamp declined to elaborate.
“I think this will be a strange year. I don’t want to say anything about wins and losses, ”said Ford Hamp. “I think the main thing is that we want to see a significant improvement. At this point, I can’t really tell what those specific measures will be, because I still don’t know what the season will be like. But believe me, a major improvement is a goal. ”