By Terrance Turner
At the end of my previous post, I uploaded a press conference with Roughnecks quarterback P.J. Walker and wide receivers Cam Phillips and Sam Mobley. I also conducted locker room interviews with Walker, running back James Butler, fellow running back Andre Williams, and wide receiver Nick Holley.
During the press conference, Phillips was asked about defensive coverage. His answer gave props to his teammates: “Sam had a great game. Nick Holley, you know, had another great game — made a few big catches. Like I said, we just trust in each other, man. We talk all the time, laugh all the time, so we understand that that camaraderie and sort of brotherhood is key — especially on offense.”
Brotherhood was also on the mind on running back James Butler, whom I interviewed in the locker room. “We really came alive in that second half,” Butler said. “We know how good we can be. We’re still putting pieces together, still trying to play a complete game. But yeah, it’s a brotherhood in this locker room.”
My full interview with Butler is embedded below.
During our interview, I noticed a muscular figure in a crop top and asked Butler who it was. He identified the man as fellow Roughnecks running back Andre Williams. I interviewed Williams about his breakout game (he had 10 carries for 54 yards) and about the mentality that led to his notable performance. But I also met his adorable 1-year-old son Ka’el. Williams held Ka’el while speaking to me about why the Roughnecks don’t have a tight end on their roster:
It was one of my most memorable interviews. I realized later that part of the reason it was so special. These clips depict a black man holding his black son, which is an image that you don’t often see in media (even sports media). It was an important glimpse into who these players are off the field. Obviously, Williams looks great on camera. But seeing him holding his infant son added a new dimension. It’s easy to watch football highlights and forget that the players on the field are also human beings with families and children.
Speaking of children, Nick Holley was outside for over half an hour, signing autographs and taking pictures with some very young fans. I captured those interactions after wrapping up my interviews:
I was fortunate enough to interview Holley after the game: