Former San Francisco 49er Steve Young called on Jive CEO Tony Zingale Tuesday night to create a private social network for ex-NFL players. He was speaking on a panel with his business partner at Northgate Capital and fellow 49er Brent Jones, who both invest in the enterprise social networking software company. The event was celebrating Jive’s first new product launch since its IPO last year. Young was touting Jive’s new offerings which aim to help users to collaborate and connect better in the workplace, when a lightbulb went off and he suddenly said, “These tools would be great for ex-NFL players.”
Young then asked for a moment of silence for Patriots linebacker Junior Seau, who was found dead earlier that day from a gunshot wound to his chest. Investigators believe his death was a suicide, similar to the recent death of former Chicago Bears defensive back Dave Duerson in February. Duerson’s autopsy showed symptoms of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, which can cause symptoms such as memory loss, aggression and depression. It’s common in players who’ve been hit in the head many times.
“A lot of players get out of the NFL and struggle,” explains Young. “It’s tough.”
In front of an audience of more than 150 industry and media professionals, Young and Jones looked at Zingale, asking for his help to create a place where ex-NFL players could connect and find support as well as inspiration from one another.
“But beyond the 30-day free trial,” laughs Jones.
All of Jive’s new apps have a 30-day free trial. And from the sound of it, Jones was asking for free access beyond that. (Well, he is an investor, so it’s not really free.)
I pulled Zingale into a conversation I was having with Young after the event to find out if he would, in fact, help Young and Jones create the private network for ex-NFL players, and he said, “Yes.”
That there isn’t one already is surprising. Who knows, maybe there’s a private Facebook group we don’t know about, and Young wasn’t invited to join. In any case, this will be a more formalized group that, if it ever happens, could help make a difference for players, helping them to embrace life after football.