Gayle Benson is becoming an Avant-Garde of professional sports leadership challenging the “Old Guard” and their silence. She is tackling important social issues and making sweeping changes which could rattle the NFL and NBA owners.
New Orleans Saints and Pelicans’ owner, Gayle Benson, has decided to rename Dixie Beer, the brewery, and all associated products. Mrs. Benson and her late husband, Tom Benson, purchased a majority share of Dixie Beer after Hurricane Katrina. It was the goal of the Bensons to restore the legendary beer brand in the New Orleans area. Today, she announced the “process underway to change the name of Dixie Brewery and all Dixie branded products.”
Mrs. Benson has taken the reins of the operation and id moving the brand in a positive direction. According to the announcement released by Gayle Benson, the company selected a third party agency to research the brand:
Later in the announcement, Mrs. Benson states, “As a result, we and our partners are committed to once again engaging in conversations with our neighbors, leaders and others to ensure that our brewery continues to be a business and brand our entire community feels represents them well and that they are proud to have as part of our culture.”
Mrs. Benson is proving to be an “Avant-Garde” in the NFL as an owner and leader with her novel decisions and foundation initiatives. New Orleanians and Gulf Coast residents should be proud to have an owner of her statue pioneering efforts for social change and inclusion. Her foundation’s Gayle Benson Community Assistance Fund at GNOF, will assist in the New Orleans community to bring about necessary change for minorities. With the climate in our country moving away from the themes which brought recognition to slavery and social oppression, Mrs. Benson is standing front and center in the NFL. Other prominent owners like the Jones (Cowboys), Hunts (Chiefs), and Maras (Giants) have remained uncomfortably silent on these important social issues sweeping across American and the world.
Popular Country and Western groups and singer, The Dixie Chicks and Lady Antebellum, announced a re-branding. The group Dixie Chicks will drop the “Dixie” and be known as The Chicks. Lady Antebellum chose to rename herself as “Lady A.”
The sports world is learning, changing and becoming sensitive to the plight of African-Americans and other minorities which have a major influence on their sports. Yet, their influence lacks the financial backing via ownership. Only Michael Jordan, owner of the Charlotte Hornets, is the only African-American to have a controlling interest of a major sports franchise. Magic Johnson has minority shares of the Los Angeles Dodgers along with Venus and Serena Williams with the Miami Dolphins.
The New Orleans Saints and Pelican under Gayle Benson has her organizations moving his the right direction. Last season, the Saints hired Vice President of Production, Shaneika Dabney-Henderson and Pelicans recruited Swin Cash as their Vice President of Basketball Operations and Team Development. New Orleans Saints have Khai Harley as their master strategist pertaining to contracts and serves in the role of Vice President of Football Administration under Executive VP/GM Mickey Loomis. John DeShazier was lured from the Times-Picayune/NOLA.com years ago to serve as the Saints’ Head Writer and Pelicans’ Color Analyst. Harley, Dabney-Henderson, DeShazier, and Cash are African-Americans, successful, intelligent, and very influential in those organizations.