Former Quarterback Christian Ponder Details New Business Partnership With The Players’ Tribune

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Former NFL quarterback Christian Ponder’s The Post is teaming up with The Players’ Tribune for a new partnership.

The Post – which was founded in April 2023 as a business networking program for retired athletes by Ponder – will collaborate with The Players’ Tribune when it comes to pairing up TPT athletes with notable business executives.

The platforms will feature a speaker series that sees athlete leaders provide insightful lessons in The Post’s members-only clubhouse with key figures from TPT
TBT
. The partnership will also include a Players’ Internship Program that will give athletes from TPT the opportunity to shadow executives in professional areas of interest with The Post’s networking program.

The Players’ Tribune – which was founded by New York Yankees legend Derek Jeter back in 2014 – is a well-known sports media platform that focuses on athletes’ own storytelling.

TPT frequently features athletes penning their own columns on their own playing experiences, when they leave a team or when they decide to call it a career. Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant announced his retirement on the platform with a poem during the 2015-16 season.

The Post features notable former and current athletes from the professional and collegiate ranks in addition to the Olympics. The private membership program features over 400 athlete members – including former NHL Hart Memorial Trophy winner Chris Pronger and current New York Rangers captain Jacob Trouba – with Ponder explaining what led to the creation of The Post following the end of his own playing career at the conclusion of the 2016 season.

“I quickly realized that I hated the fact that it felt like being an athlete was reduced to a past version of myself even though it’s been my identity for a really long time,” explained Ponder in a one-on-one interview.

Ponder was a highly touted first-round draft pick of the Minnesota Vikings in the 2011 NFL Draft. The 35-year-old played at FSU under legendary coach Bobby Bowden and was the third quarterback selected in that year’s draft.

Expected to be the Vikings’ franchise quarterback for the long-term future, Ponder had some bright moments, including leading the Vikings to a 24-13 win over the eventual NFC champion San Francisco 49ers during the 2012 season.

Ponder led the Vikings to a playoff appearance that season after a solid season that saw him throw 18 touchdowns with a 62.1% completion rate and a 10-6 record. However, after inconsistent play and injuries, he lost his starting job prior to the end of the 2013 season and never re-gained it back.

The 35-year-old – who last appeared on a roster with the Niners during the 2016 season – explained that he felt lost without football and missed the camaraderie that sports brought to his life. That void eventually led to the creation of The Post.

“It’s the community that I belonged to for pretty much my whole life since I was a kid. Being on teams, in locker rooms and around athletes are the people I get along with best and enjoy being around the most,” says Ponder. “I desperately missed being a part of that group.”

Ponder further elaborates on how he tried to join social clubs following his career to fill that “void,” only to feel something still missing.

“I tried to join all these different things such as Soho House and the social clubs and looked at professional networks and nothing ever scratched the itch for me as an athlete,” said Ponder. “When I realized that I thought, number one, I couldn’t be the only athlete that feels that way. And number two, if it doesn’t exist, let’s go build it. And we’re validating this idea.”

Ponder details why athletes make such good business leaders, citing the “soft skills” they learn from their playing careers as a reason why so many of them become Fortune 500 executives and presidents.

“There’s so much compelling data around the performance of athletes in business and because of all those intangibles that sports develops in athletes and their work ethic and the grittiness and the competitiveness and the drive, all those soft skills doesn’t go away,” explains Ponder. “If you can transfer them really well in business, then it makes you a highly effective business leader.”

He also details what makes this partnership beneficial for not only his leadership network, but also The Players’ Tribune.

“I think it was an inevitable relationship,” says Ponder. “I think what we care about in terms of the athlete space and what players really care about has so many synergies. What we see is the opportunity to give athletes that option to be their authentic selves in business and for the rest of their lives even when sport is over. I think we were on a collision course eventually was going to happen.”

The internship program’s purpose is to help athletes make the transition following their playing careers to gain experience in business areas of interest.

“The focus through the internship program is how do we help current athletes start thinking about what happens next and shadowing executives,” says Ponder. “Having those interns come shadow us at The Post or shadow some of our members at their organizations and learn about advertising, private equity and venture capital, whatever they’re interested in. Extending those opportunities, which is great for our members because they want access to these people.”

Meanwhile, the speaker series will occur once a quarter at The Post’s clubhouse in New York City. Ponder details what purpose the clubhouse will serve when it comes to speaking events.

“We’ll be collaborating with The Players Tribune on providing programming and speaker events in our clubhouse in New York City and Flat Iron,” explains Ponder. “It’s our space, our community to come and work during the day. You’re hanging out to watch a game, or also do events. Part of the relationship is doing an event that we can collaborate on together to bring a speaker that is bringing some value information and insight to our members for us to continue to learn and get better.”

Ponder’s long-term objective at The Post is providing a place and an outlet where former athletes can call “home.”

“It’s the idea of, how do we give that space where athletes continue to be exactly who they are? I would love for us to be synonymous with when you’re an athlete done in sports, you may get plugged in the blog posts and we’re just that space that all athletes can be a part of in their athlete journey,” says Ponder. “But that’s what I want to become — a part of all athletes’ journeys and giving them that space that they can call home.”

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