New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley hasn't had the opportunity to shine on football's brightest stage just yet, but that hasn't stopped him from using the Super Bowl to highlight victories off the field. Barkley, who was the 2018 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, headed down to Miami with Visa for Super Bowl LIV to support a subset not regularly associated with the sport of football — female business owners.
"Having a daughter, I want her to have that mindset that she can do whatever she wants," Barkley said. "So to be able to give back to small, local businesses, especially those owned by a woman, definitely means a lot to me."
In a male-dominated industry, Barkley hopes to use his influence to uplift the voices of women. He's one of a handful of professional athletes with a female agent — Kim Miale of Roc Nation, who he calls "family." The pair made history in 2018 when Barkley was selected second overall in the NFL Draft, the highest a player represented by a woman has ever been drafted.
"Especially in the sport and business that I'm in, the NFL, it's majority men," Barkley said. "I feel like God blessed me with the opportunity to put myself in a position to make an impact, and I feel like one way to show how much I'm thankful is to try to have an impact, to try to give back."
Among Barkley's efforts to impact diversity at Super Bowl LIV off the field, a woman was taking the field for the very first time to make an impact of her own. This year, San Francisco 49ers offensive assistant coach Katie Sowers became both the first female and first openly gay coach to ever be in the Super Bowl. Barkley hopes that Sowers will inspire more women to pursue their passions, no matter the industry.
"I think if you find something you’re passionate about – whether it's in sports or business or anything – if you find something you’re passionate about, why not go do it? Don’t let any boundaries stop you," Barkley said. "I challenge anyone, not just females, but anyone that wants to do something, if they believe and they have a dream, they should go do it."
At nearly two-years-old, Barkley's daughter Jada Clare may be too young to have realized her athletic abilities just yet, but Barkley hopes that she uses her voice to push for equality, should she find herself in the position to do so.
"It's obviously not where we want it to be, but if my daughter ever wants to become a professional athlete, I hope she advocates to get equal pay and equal rights in her sports role," Barkley said. "They put in the same type of work that we put in so I'm all about that."