Former Arizona Cardinals coach Jen Welter will attend Floyd Mayweather's fight against Andre Berto on Sept. 12, her rep confirmed toSI.com.
Before Welter's confirmation, TMZ reported Welter would accompany Mayweather into the ring. While Welter did accept the invitation to attend Mayweather's fight, her rep told SI.com that she isn't sure she'll lead Mayweather out.
Welter, who became the first female coach in NFL history, drew criticism on social media for her decision because of Mayweather's history of domestic violence. She told USA Today she took the invitation as a sign Mayweather “might want to change.”
“I am very anti-domestic violence, and the spotlight that is shown on domestic violence through sports creates a possibility where we can say, ‘No this isn’t ok and we can change it,’” Welter told USA Today's Lindsay H. Jones. “Me accepting this ticket does not mean I support his past, but hopefully it is a way to be an instrument for change in the future. What I do know is I certainly can’t do anything good by rejecting what seems to be an olive branch.”
Jones also reports Welter said as a condition of accepting the invitation to the fight, she asked for time to speak with Mayweather, though that meeting may not happen.
“Some people don’t see it this way, but in my mind, knowing that this has been his history and something people continually criticize him for, for him to reach out to me, of all people. A woman who made it in men’s professional football, with NFL guys, and the NFL has been dealing with some of these problems in terms of DV and was someone who was able to reach out to them, work with them, and earn their trust,” Welter told Jones. “I do have a doctorate in psychology and a history of being very positive with the athletes that I work with. That was how I interpreted it. Could I be wrong? Sure. But that’s how I took it and how I am going into this situation.”
The Cardinals hired Welter for the preseason in July. Her time with the team ended before the start of the regular season.
- Rohan Nadkarni