CSN TOMBOY

TOMBOY: Former Bears DE Alex Brown on raising girls with sports

TOMBOY: Former Bears DE Alex Brown on raising girls with sports

The following is a Q&A with former Chicago Bears defensive end and CSN Chicago Bears analyst Alex Brown on gender in sports leading up to CSN’s original documentary TOMBOY airing on March 13.

What character traits did you develop through sports and how did you pass those on to your daughters?

Being available and always coming with a great attitude whether practice or in a  game.

How can your daughters benefit from sports?

I think all kids can learn that you don't always "win." Sometimes you have to learn how to face defeat whether in the corporate world or in a sports atmosphere.

Was there a female role model in your life that you looked up to?

I have four brothers, so the one female figure I grew up with was my mom. To raise five boys takes a special woman. She is nothing short of special in my book.

Is it tough to see some of the violence against women going on in the NFL, and do you feel like things are worse now with social media? Everything appears to be out there; not just information, but images and video.

I don't think it's worse. I actually believe that because it's out there and no longer hidden within homes. People actually have to take accountability for their actions. Hopefully this helps us move closer to not treating women - or men for that matter - this way.

How is raising two daughters different than raising a boy?

Well for me, raising daughters is all new, I grew up with four brothers, so having to  deal with emotions almost 24/7 is something that I have never been faced with before. Girls are sensitive but they love you like no other. My girls meet me at the door at the end of the day with a huge hug and they are super excited that I am home. My son, on the other hand, kind of throws his hand in the air and says, "Hey, Dad, glad you're home." (laughs) Completely different to say the least.

Do you steer your daughters into playing sports?

I definitely would like for my girls to play sports because of what sports can teach with team building, bonding and being competitive. But it's their choice. What I do tell them is that you don't have to play if you don't want to, but if you do then we are going to be the best that we can be at whatever sport it is that they are doing.

Do you watch women’s sports?

We will watch WNBA, college soccer and softball together, but I think they would rather color and draw sometimes than watch sports in general.

How do you see the future of women’s sports?

I think the future of women's sports will hang on if it can get a superstar that has it all. The way we see the NBA isn't the way it was prior to MJ getting there, even though Magic and Bird were ruling. It took the perfect combination of charisma, talent, likability and marketability; that as we all know now was Michael Jordan, and the sport took off from there. In each sport - whether soccer, volleyball, softball, basketball, tennis (Serena Williams) - they just need that one special person and the fan base will grow and that sport will thrive.

TOMBOY Women in Sports Symposium Q&A

TOMBOY Women in Sports Symposium Q&A

DePaul and CSN Chicago hosted a Women in Sports Symposium featuring with female athletes and women in sports media and sports business on Monday as part of the NBC Sports Regional Networks' TOMBOY initiative.

CSN's Kelly Crull hosted. She was joined by Jean Lenti Ponsetto (DePaul athletics director), Susan Goodenow (Bulls vice president of marketing and branding), Doug Bruno (DePaul women's basketball coach), Peggy Kusinski (NBC Chicago sports anchor/reporter) and Sofia Huerta (Chicago Red Stars forward).

After introductions and discussing what the word tomboy makes the panelists think of, the panel fielded questions on the topic. Watch the video above to see the full length Q&A.

Women in Sports Symposium on the word tomboy

Women in Sports Symposium on the word tomboy

DePaul and CSN Chicago hosted a panel with female athletes and women in sports media and sports business on Monday as part of the NBC Sports Regional Networks' TOMBOY initiative.

The panel was titled "Women in Sports Symposium" and featured Jean Lenti Ponsetto (DePaul athletics director), Susan Goodenow (Bulls vice president of marketing and branding), Doug Bruno (DePaul women's basketball coach), Peggy Kusinski (NBC Chicago sports anchor/reporter) and Sofia Huerta (Chicago Red Stars forward). The panel was hosted by CSN's Kelly Crull.

Watch the video above to see what they think of the word tomboy, what it means and how it isn't used as much now as it used to be.

For more, check out this video featuring Huerta and Lenti Ponsetto: