Follow up Interview With Darryl Natiel Florida Football Classic Weekend


Darryl What have you been doing since last we spoke?

Really, I have been trying to relax since I returned from Bethune Cookman and Florida A&M Football Classic Game. It has been a lot of road travel with the football season. So, I have really been trying to get my legs back under me. However, the work never stops. I have been involved in recruiting high school football players for BCU. I also, have been involved in recruiting football players from the South Florida area. Most of the kids are in the play off. As the season ends recruiting will increase. I am not leaving any stones unturned. I am also assisting some athletes with their papers  who wishes to transfer to BCU.

What role did you participate in with Bethune Cookman and Florida A&M  Football Classic?

I did the radio broad cast through Goliath Broad Cast which is out of Oma Beach Florida.  Goliath Broad Cast is responsible for broad casting all of BCU Football Games. My role was radio commentary from the BCU side line.

Who was the game televised through?

The game was televised through ESPN Classic

It was great, I got the opportunity to visit the ESPN Booth and meet with some of ESPN Local Sport  Commentators.

What were some of the high lights of the event.

Just the pageantry of seeing 66 thousand  people in the stadium and one of my high lights was seeing the largest Electric Slide dance with over 66 thousand fans doing the dance at the same time. It was amazing seeing the wave of people moving.

Where you pleased with the turn out?

Absolutely, BCU was the Black College  National Champs last year and our only blemish on our record was a loss to FAMU. But that’s our rival. We had not beaten FAMU in a couple of years. However, this year BCU came in prepared and handed FAMU their hats. We put a lot of pressure on the young quarter back. We played well on office and we left a lot of point on the field. We played very well and I think that we are going to win our next two games.

Who were the better band for the event?

Now, you are going to cause something here because I am not going to be byes. The 100s and the Marching PROUD are two of the best bands in the world; as I have stated before, they are two different styles. When you look at the 100s they are more open and off the cuff type of a band and BCU is more precision wise. So, I think both of the bands are great. However, I  always give a nod to the PRIDE. You can look at their performance and enjoy what they do . The 100s are a little wild,  but they are still great too.   

What was one of the low points of the event?

For me this is very unique because right before half time, I have a friend named Le Count Convoy who was also radio broad casting the game for Homes Sports Network out of Baltimore. Le Count game down to the field before half time to see if he could get an interview with BCU Coach. As we looked around to see which way that we were going to exit the field because the band was also on the field. We notice a FAMU Drum Major not looking well. His appearance was sweaty and his eyes looked glazed. We just thought that he was on something. Little did we know that this kid was Robert Champion the kid that was hazed by his peers and later died. To add to the low point of the event , Le Count Convoy died of a heart attack in his sleep one hour later. Here, I am standing between two dead men and that was the low point of the event.   

How should hazing be addressed?

Zero tolerance for hazing.  Why do you have to beat someone? Why do you have to take someone through all of that just to join something? I can understand you giving them strenuous exercise, extra laps or extra music practice. But the paddling and the beating, this doesn’t make any since. This kid was hazed because he dropped the baton. To make a long story short, the night before of the high school battle of the Bands, he had also dropped the baton that night and they had been hazing him since Friday night. As I looked at it, maybe this kid was roughed up before the game. Maybe, he was going into cardiac arrest as we saw him before the half time show. As Le Count and I said he did  not look well.

What actions can be taken to move this event to the next level.

That’s interesting, because I think that they took the proper steps last year when Blue Cross and Blue Shield took over the sponsorship. I saw a lot of different things that I have not seen before. It was more classier. It had a bit of Division 1 appeal. Because, after the game the winning team received victory caps and shirts. That’s something that is often viewed in Division 1 Bowl Games. Also, there were McDonalds commercials geared towards the young audience. There were skits being done during time outs to keep the crowd engaged. The Electric Slide was one of my favorite that kept the fans enthuse. There were other presentation. I think that Blue Cross/Blue Shield has done a great job of taking the Football Classic to the next level.  

What were you most proud of?

The behavior of 66 thousand African Americans together participating in a rivalry football game and a half a million Tail Gators, Vendors and Spectators enjoying each other’s friendship before and after the game. It was great seeing such a large mass of people enjoying the Florida Classic Weekend. To add to this statement and to see two Great HBCU Collegiate Football Programs play before a televised national audience and to top it off with two of the Best Bands in the Nation perform was the “icing on  cake”.

What will you do to preserve Our Football Classic?

Keep our kids informed about the HBCU. A lot of our kids want to go to the big D 1 schools for television exposure. Little do they know that BCU played 6 televised national games. If you are good it doesn’t matter what school you attend. Talent is something that you can’t hide. So, I will continue to direct Florida athletes to BCU and continue to encourage our kids to attend  HBCU schools.

Brother Nattiel, thanks for sharing your 2011 Florida Football Classic Experience with Sports Elite Magazine. I wish you well and I hope to see you for the 2012 Football Classic.

WCT 79