More Black Ownership: NFL Star Derrick Henry Joins Minority Ownership Group Of Nashville SC Major League Soccer Team

Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Derrick Henry is stepping into the professional ownership box in Major League Soccer.

Recently, Nashville SC announced that the Tennessee Titans running back and Nashville native actress Reese Witherspoon are minority owners of the team. Witherspoon’s husband, Jim Toth, is also a part of the new minority ownership group.

“As a kid growing up in Florida, I imagined being a professional sports owner and the opportunity to do that with a Major League Soccer club is truly a dream come true,” said Henry in a statement.

Making More History In Tennessee

Henry is now only the fourth NFL player in history to serve as an owner of an MLS team, according to Nashville SC. In 2019, Russell Wilson became part-owner of the Seattle Sounders. Also, in 2021, Patrick Mahomes became a co-owner of Sporting KC.

Nashville SC made the playoffs in 2020 and 2021, losing in the conference semifinals both years.

“My investment in Nashville SC is way more than financial, it’s truly an investment in the city of Nashville. The chance to be part of a club like Nashville SC, especially after seeing what they are accomplishing in the community, was an opportunity I did not want to miss.”

New Arena. New Energy. Who Dis.

The team plays in 30,000-seat GEODIS Park, the largest soccer-specific stadium in the U.S. or Canada. According to the club, the stadium’s construction is almost complete, and 49 percentt of the more than 6,000 people employed were women or people of color.

The club is an expansion team that became an MLS club in 2020. Initially, the team was hosted at the Titans’ Nissan Stadium. However, Nashville SC will have its inaugural match on May 1 against the Philadelphia Union.

Henry is an All-Pro and two-time NFL rushing champion.

The Titan Of Tennessee

He is known as the NFL’s most dominant back and has spent six seasons in the league. In 2020, Henry secured the NFL’s rushing title for the second consecutive year after recording 2,027 rushing yards and 17 rushing touchdowns.

Standing 6 feet 3, Henry became the eighth player in NFL history to eclipse 2,000 rushing yards in a season, which is rarefied air.

In 2019, Henry was the NFL’s leading rusher with 1,540 yards and 16 rushing scores, according to the Titans. He racked up 5,860 rushing yards and scored 55 rushing touchdowns during his first five NFL seasons, including consecutive 1,000-yard seasons from 2018-20.

Bringing Titan Energy To MLS

As a second-round pick by the Titans in 2016 following a junior season at the University of Alabama, Henry won the CFP National Championship and the Heisman Trophy.

“We meant it when we said we were doing this in Nashville, with Nashville and for Nashville,” said Nashville SC principal owner John Ingram via statement.

“Having Derrick, Reese and Jim join our group signals our commitment to being a club that is going to do things at the highest level and with the best Nashville has to offer.”

With other NFL players becoming co-owners in nontraditional sports, like Marshawn Lynch’s ownership in the Seattle Kraken hockey team, gridiron stars invest in keeping the sports ecosystem growing.

Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. Rhett hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.