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Breaking Stereotypes with Women of the League

As NFL wives, many women face the criticism from the fans of their husbands. Josie Leinart, an actress-turned-attorney and wife of former NFL quarterback Matt Leinart, decided to break some boundaries and stereotypes about the NFL and the women alongside it by creating a podcast called “Women of the League”.


The description from their channel is “Women of the League focuses on empowering women through raw, honest conversation that challenges the stereotype of what’s traditionally been perceived as a ‘typical’ NFL wife. They’re not just wives; they’re also businesswomen, entrepreneurs, creators, philanthropists, mothers, and more. We are passing the microphone and moving the spotlight to the women alongside the most prominent athletes in the world. It’s time to show the world the Women of the League.”


The podcast’s first episode aired in November of 2022 and since then has posted six episodes. Joining Josie Leinart at the roundtable is Allison Rochell, wife of DE Isaac Rochell of the Las Vegas Raiders; Christen Harper, fiancee of Jared Goff a QB for the Detroit Lions; Kym Jackson, fiancee of WR Jeff Smith of the New York Jets; and Whitney Risner, wife of Dalton Risner an O-Lineman for the Denver Broncos.


While these wonderful women are married to some well known NFL names, they have amazing accomplishments of their own from being an influencer to acting to modeling to running their own business! The podcast is focused on discussing many topics related to the NFL including the realities of being an NFL wife, what happens in the offseason, the hard conversations such as prenups, finances, NFL contracts, entrepreneurship and finding your identity, and navigating the realities of social media.


I would love to be able to discuss each and every episode, but the article would be pages long so instead I wanted to discuss the importance of the podcast and more about the women behind the microphone.


So why is a podcast about the women of the league so important? The misconceptions about being an NFL wife or girlfriend have been around for many years and have been reinforced by shows like Football Wives and WAGS LA which portray the dramatic side of being a wife rather than the truth. By giving these women a platform to share what they are up to and how their daily lives work, it is helping to break the stereotypes that are surrounding them.


Josie Leinart, the founder of Women of the League, began her career as an actress in 2006 and was in shows such as Make It or Break It, The Mentalist, etc., and movies such as 17 Again, Christmas in Paradise, 21 & Over, and more. She graduated from UCLA in 2011 and after a few more years of acting decided that she wanted to attend law school and enrolled at LMU Law School. Leinart graduated in 2019 and began working as an associate attorney at Munuck Wilson Mandala LLP in Los Angeles in 2021. As an attorney, Leinart is focused on representing universities navigating the NCAA regulations on name, image, and likeness laws. Josie’s husband, Matt Leinart, was an NFL quarterback that was at the end of his career when they met in 2012. Matt finished his career in 2013 with the Buffalo Bills, one year after he and Josie had initially met. They began dating shortly after, got engaged in 2016 and married in 2018. They now have two kids together and both have active careers. Find more about Josie @josieleinart on Instagram.


Allison Rochell, or Allison Kuch if you follow her on social media,is a social media influencer and YouTube blogger since 2016 that also owns an AirBnB in Scottsdale, AZ. Allison has always had a presence online since she started in 2016. Her first videos garnered around 1.5k views on each video to her current videos that gain anywhere from 5k to 200k views. Her current videos talk a lot about her journey as an NFL wife and how it has affected her mental health, her relationships and more. You are more likely to know her from her comedic TikToks about her husband, Isaac Rochell, which has gained her 2.3 million followers. Her constant joking about her maiden last name, Kuch, being Isaac’s last name have gotten lots of people in on the joke including the NFL themselves. She also shares a lot of health and wellness tips on both her TikTok and YouTube. Check her out @allisonkuch on all platforms!


Christen Harper, fiancee of Detroit Lions QB Jared Goff, is a successful Sports Illustrated model who has publicly spoken out many times about the misconceptions of being a NFL wife or girlfriend. In a recent article, Harper said, “People just assume things about you, they assume that you don’t have a job or you’re not doing anything outside of following your husband around, or fiance around, so many of the women that I know in the league are working hard at their careers or they’re doing amazing things in the community.” The 29-year-old model has worked hard for her career and in 2022 was named a SI Swimsuit Rookie of the year alongside Katie Austin. Harper is on Instagram @christenharper


The next to last woman to mention from the list is Kym Jackson, fiancee of New York Jets WR Jeff Smith. Jackson is a digital creator/influencer who in the last year has launched her own vlog YouTube channel that shows some insight into her life. Kym has been very open about her life as a NFL girlfriend and as being a mom. Kym and Jeff had their first child, Jayce Smith, in July of 2022 and her Instagram shows her journey from pregnancy into motherhood. To follow along to Kym and Jeff’s relationship and journey, find her on Instagram @therealkym


Lastly, but definitely not least, is Whitney Risner. Whitney Risner is a name that was known in my household, or rather the last name Risner, because she and her husband met during college in Kansas (where I am from!). Dalton Risner, was a O-Lineman at Kansas State University where he met his future wife Whitney. They met at the Lake of the Ozarks during Dalton’s senior year at Kansas State and it was a journey to get where they are now. Dalton was heading to the NFL and Whitney wasn’t sure of making the commitment as he was going to be going a different path. Whitney was a basketball player and nursing student at Fort Hays State University and is glad that Dalton was as persistent as he was. Whitney began posting regular NFL game day content to TikTok in 2020 as a way to show a different side of the NFL. At first there was a lot of hate, but it ended up helping her burst onto the for you page of lots of others who were more supportive. Now, Whitney runs her company WaaWees Jewelry, which launched in November of 2022 while helping with the RisnerUp foundation that she and Dalton run. WaaWees was a childhood nickname she gave herself because she could pronounce Whitney Marie that she combined with her love of jewelry she has always had. You can shop the company at waawees.com and follow Whitney on Instagram @whitneymarierisner


As the Women of the League podcast gains more listeners and traction online, I am excited to see the positive effects it has on people's perceptions of the NFL wives and girlfriends. Although many of the women's sports podcasts deal with experiences of working in the industry or being a fan, the side of support is one that is often forgotten. Hopefully you will listen to the podcast and learn more about who the support system for your favorite NFL player is.


To find the podcast check them out on Spotify, YouTube, Instagram, or TikTok!

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