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Reggie Fowler

Tried Out For Bengals, Met The Press, Admitted Errors In Biography, Black Coaches Voted Their Approval



Arizona entrepreneur Reggie Fowler created a stir in 2005 when he nearly became the first African American to own the majority stake in a National Football League (NFL) team, the Minnesota Vikings. His impending purchase was hailed as a milestone in professional sports, and it was hoped that it would eradicate some of the imbalance in a league where nearly three-quarters of the players are minorities, while the ranks of coaches and front-office staffers have yet to become fully integrated. From the beginning, however, questions about Fowler's finances, and a minor stir about inaccuracies on his resume, raised questions. By mid-2005, the bid had fallen through and Fowler backed away from his efforts to buy the team. Minneapolis-area activist Spike Moss was quoted in the San Jose Mercury News as saying, Everybody was looking forward to him being the first, but first you have to have the money to be considered.

Born in February, 1959, Fowler was one of five children in a family headed by a father who had been an officer in the U.S. Air Force. When Al Fowler settled in the Tucson, Arizona, area, he opened Al's Pit Bar-BQue, a successful eatery whose original location was used as the diner in the 1974 Martin Scorsese film, Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore. Fowler's first job was as a dishwasher at the restaurant. Midway through middle school, his parents moved the family to another section of Tucson, and from then on Fowler and his siblings attended schools that were predominantly white. At Saguaro High School, he was an outstanding athlete and was elected to homecoming court; his father cooked the pre-game meals for him and his football teammates. After graduating in 1977, he entered the University of Wyoming on a football scholarship, starting out as a running back but then switching to wide receiver and linebacker positions.

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