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Fair Play

Sam Rapoport is seen here at the NFL headquarters in New York City. She’s the league’s senior director of diversity, equity, and inclusion. ERIC ESPINO

Sam Rapoport has a mission. She wants to connect women and girls with football. Rapoport works for the National Football League (NFL). She’s its senior director of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Rapoport grew up playing flag and touch football. In Canada, she played for two women’s teams. She was a quarterback. Rapoport was hired by the NFL in 2004. Five years later, she won an award. It was the NFL Commissioner’s Award for Innovation.

But Rapoport wanted to do something for women. In 2010, she left the NFL. She created the Women’s World Football Games. It brings together women from many countries. They play football for a week. “Now we are connected and working together to grow the sport,” she says. In 2016, Rapoport rejoined the NFL. She helped start the NFL Women’s Forum. It puts women in the running for coaching, scouting, and operations jobs. Now, she says, we have “more women coaching than in any male professional sport in the world.”