Nolan Carroll’s Touchdown on Fatherhood, Youth Advancement and Black Lives Matter

Born into a military family, Nolan Carroll was raised in Green Cove Springs, Florida. Beginning at an early age, he found encouragement by watching his mother rise through the United States Navy to the rank of Lieutenant Commander, and later becoming the first African-American woman Lieutenant Governor of Florida. Nolan was inspired to push himself through injury and adversity to achieve any goal he set forth.

Photography by Young Wild Dreams. Press by Matt Dillon.

Since retiring from the NFL in 2017, the former Quarterback has become a bit of a renaissance man. Entrepreneur, philanthropist, fashion enthusiast. This man is out to try it all and guide others along the way. From partnering with YoloRum to his new app CoinGoat, Nolan has not let retirement slow him down, even during quarantine. With all of his new business ventures, nothing has been more challenging or rewarding than the role of fatherhood these past six years. One of the inspirations to his foundation, The Nolan Carroll Foundation was parenthood. The foundation’s mission is to help underprivileged and at-risk youth by assisting them with support and guidance on the path of STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) educational and job skill opportunities.

Contrast Magazine had the chance to sit down to speak with Nolan during his self quarantine to see how he is surviving day to day. The sports star opened up about his views on football in a post-COVID world and how it is affecting not just the teams but the fans as well. He is even brave enough to share feelings on the racial tensions in the country today. Additionally a lesson from one of his darkest moments and how he kept his motivation and drive through a tough year in his career.  Nolan makes sure to stay engaged in his love of helping those in need through this social distancing with new projects.

Lapalme Magazine has been honored to have him contribute on their team as a staff writer and will be inviting others to join him on his new podcast “Conversations with Carroll.”

This man doesn’t know the definition of stopping.

Photography by Young Wild Dreams. Press by Matt Dillon.

How have you been coping with COVID-19 and what changes have been made to adjust? I have been doing good during the pandemic. I think when it first became a reality that we would be shutting down, I started to think what I could do to utilize my free time. Travel was restricted and that was an important piece in what my life entailed. When that was cut off I had to think what experiences do I want to share with people that may need help finding themselves while trying to survive.  So I began to elaborate on my football experiences dissected them and saw how it could be applied to someone in the working world to help motivate and simulate their mental. I am fortunate enough and blessed enough to have the proper team around me to help create. My team and I built out a studio in my house and began to make videos, vlogs and podcast. You have seen the most popular of tv host now tied down to their houses, so I just used it as an opportunity to create to give people on social media something to look at.

Tell me about the stem research you’ve been working on under the Nolan Carroll Foundation and why children are the future change makers? STEM stands for Science Technology Engineering Math. I have been concentrating on creating opportunities for teachers and schools to provide STEM modules to underprivileged children. I believe this is an outlet to help children think beyond what they know. Educate themselves to create, build, manage, own what they image. I have been able to build my life through identifying a problem and creating a solution.

Tell me about your podcast launch for Conversations with Carroll? What topics should we expect from this? I created my podcast centered around people in my life throughout my career and after that have done incredible jobs with their own passions and interest , but it all started with the will power to do it. I wanted to have conversations about their lives and how they overcame trials and tribulations to make it in this tough world. There is a range of topics that are covered. From politics, to fashion, fitness, NFL stories. I think it will be fun to hear other people’s perspective on how life is for them and the mindset to make their dreams happen. You have to tune in and watch, people won’t be disappointed!

How has life treated you post-NFL and how you’ve transitioned into an entrepreneur? I can’t complain at all, life is good. I know which direction I am heading, which wasn’t the case a few years ago. I was lost, somewhat afraid because my title AKA identity had been taken from me. My life what I knew had been put on halt. I had to grind it out to really discover who Nolan Carroll will be from post football and on. I had to ask myself the hard questions about friends I used to hang with, what are my true passions and how do I want to make a difference in my community and what do I want to be remembered for? Asking those tough questioned allowed me to take the 1st couple steps to get momentum and after I got comfortable with what I wanted  life became fun again. Waking up each morning knowing your purpose is tied to what you want to do. Not a team , coach, gm , agent, fans the list goes on. I was able to concentrate on what’s best for me and what is best for my family. Going into different business ventures and helping others build their own companies allowed me to meet some great people who have guided me to take the proper steps to ensure any business I dive into it can thrive.

Your mother was the first African American republican woman to be elected into the Florida legislature. Seven years later she was the first African American woman to be elected as the state’s lieutenant governor. How does it feel having such a strong woman present? Its an honor and a blessing to have my mother do the things that she has and to do it seemingly with ease. I tease and say she is the “famous” Carroll of the family. Rightfully so she has been through difficulties at a very young age. Coming from Trinidad to America at 8 years old  and not be with her biological mother then to enlist in the Navy and deal with racism/sexism then to go on and retire as a Lt. Commander. That to me speaks volumes, and to not only finish there but Lt Governor of Florida and make history doing it. What more needs to be said.

Photography by Young Wild Dreams. Press by Matt Dillon.

With COVID-19 growing into a global pandemic, how do you see the sports industry recouping after we go “back to normal?” I think it will be hard to get back to normal, but I think sports in general have to continue to push through with the precautions and procedures. All teams are experiencing the same setbacks. Over time we will find some normal and begin to attend and enjoy sporting events. Right now its trial and error. We just need to be patient and work together and find some way to bring the same excitement to each sporting event as if we could still attend. It isn’t just the fans that feel it, the players do also. It is weird to go to a game with no fans and play, as a former player I know if the crowd is into it that gave us energy, adrenaline to go and put on a show and continue the excitement for the fans. We miss them and hopefully soon they can come back.

Not only are we in a health pandemic, we’re in a racial pandemic. With COVID-19, we wear masks to prevent infection. What steps do you think are needed to alleviate the racial tension in America? I think the best thing to do is to stop pointing fingers. Not get so emotionally enraged when someone doesn’t agree with an opinion. That’s why there can’t be productive dialogue  Can’t come to a solution when both sides fight each other. We also need to start locally if we want change to happen. County/city elected officials carry our voices up the ladder and I saw this while my mom was in politics. I think that is an effective way to create the change everyone needs in America. It is up to us to educate and inform people what exactly is going on and not be biased to get someone to side with one another. Give the correct information, don’t lie, and let the American people make their choice.

How has fatherhood treated you? Tell me about your son! Fatherhood has been amazing, I have embraced it since the day my son was born. I made a promise to him that I would always be there for him. His mother and me are not together, but that doesn’t stop me from loving him and caring for him. She does a good job as well incorporating me into Nolan’s life to make sure he knows his “pops” care for him. My son grows up right before my very eyes each day it seems like. Everyday it’s a new phrase, game, iPad video, facts, or soccer skills he shows me. For being 6 years old he has a strong independent personality. I see myself in him and more. I am excited to see my son continue to grow and follow his journey in life to see what he will make of himself, I will not force anything to him. I only want to teach a guide, I love him to death and thankful he was born, he turned my outlook on how life is supposed to be around.

Photography by Young Wild Dreams. Press by Matt Dillon.

Tell me about your lowest point in life and how you overcame? What did you learn from that? My lowest point had to have been in 2015 when I broke my leg Thanksgiving Day against the Lions when I played with the Eagles. I was having a good year and it was a contract year. I broke my ankle and 3 ligaments. Almost everyone thought I would not even come back again, even heard it from some staff members inside the facility betting I would be able to walk again. I simply proved everyone wrong, it was my mindset and will that allowed me to get out of that hole, because there was so much uncertainty, but I just had to believe in God and work from the bottom again, I was fine with that because I came back the following year played all 16 games in 2016  and showed everyone if you count me out, you underestimated me and I am the one to capitalize when I feel that around. It’s like taking an energy shot, its invigorating to feel the satisfaction to know that so many people are against you and your back is against the wall, but you don’t fear it or run from it. Its is embraced and taken head. Safe to say I still have that mindset.

What’s next for you? For me I have just completed a few projects, and just ready to unveil them when the time is right. Yolo Rum we have some nice surprises coming up. My podcast is soon to drop and I am excited, my blog column with Lapalme just hit the ground running and I have also been creating some cinematic vlogs to partner up with my articles .I wanted to dip into acting a little but I wanted to do it in a way where there is a unique message and image behind it. This is a part of me giving to someone else who may need some help in life. Those to me have been the most interesting because we continue to up the ante with each film .If I don’t get an Emmy for these I need to write a letter to someone (lol)

The definition of Contrast is “to be strikingly different.” What makes you strikingly different? I am very different from my counterparts,  my demeanor and mindset are not like others simply because I am always looking to push the limit on what I think I can do, I don’t quit easily and if it isn’t for me I let it go and keep pressing forward. I have a mindset to help others even if that means putting myself to the sideline,  I think it’s more worthwhile to see someone you help progress in life.