What was your childhood like growing up in Delaware and how did your experiences in your youth help shape who you are today?
"Yes, the hard streets of Delaware, right? Honestly, probably a couple of ways looking at it from my perspective. I'll start with my parents, my mother and father, Juana Fuentes-Bowles and Reginald Scott Sr. and the other big person I would say is my sister, Vicky Fuentes. They are the three people that shaped me. What I like about what they did was they gave me a lot of tools in my toolbox to handle adversity. But more than anything, if I had to say one thing they did, they taught me that nothing was adverse. You've got to be careful growing up, you can be taught, 'Hey, you're going to have adversity in your life, you're going to have some tough sledding, you're going to have to break through some things.' I think when you look, especially in the African American community, we can be taught like, 'Hey, it's a tough road to get to where we need to get to.' They really didn't paint a picture like that. They painted the picture of, 'Hey, there's no such thing as adversity,' and they helped me understand that 'you have every opportunity, same as anybody else.' But more than anything, I think they gave me tools in my toolbox that prepared me for when I had adverse times. I really didn't think when was running steadfast in my life that I was going to run into adversity. But when I did hit adversity, I had some components and tools. I think of my sister. She made me tough, man. She taught me to be honest, speak your mind, have respect for people, but be tough. I mean, she used to beat me up when I was a child for God's sake! On top of that, I had a great support group. Two of my best friends, Khary Darlington and Billy Sanders, are guys that I grew up with. We grew up from the same box, all the way through. Having people that were likeminded, two young African American men like me, on the same pathway or wavelength as me, trying to make a difference in life, trying to make a difference in somebody else's life and their future…I think my circle was probably the biggest thing from a Delaware perspective that was big for me. So it's that family knit that gave me tools not to see adversity, and then to have two guys that I lean on like crazy from Delaware, that were very likeminded in terms of wanting to get out in the world and make a difference…that was probably my secret sauce to getting out of Delaware."
What made you interested in pursuing a career in athletic training and sports performance?
"Obviously, I love sports. I played sports, was a baseball player growing up, loved being around sports. We all love sports and so I knew I wanted to be around sports for the rest of my life. I think from that perspective, with the concept of medical and caregiving, I felt I always had a gift of caregiving. I like to care for other people. I got injured in baseball and was around athletic trainers and physical therapists and that really triggered me like, 'Hey, cool little profession.' I'll never forget the feeling I felt when this person cared for me and I thought to myself, 'Wow, I would love to give that feeling to somebody else and pay it forward.' That struck me and molded me to know the pathway I wanted to go. When it really caught fire was when I got to college. I went to West Virginia University and got into the athletic trainer program. When I got into that program, talk about when your gifts meet with things you love…it really caught fire. When I started learning about the human body and anatomy, the different types of rehabilitation skills, and the ways you can help people perform better, it was addictive. I couldn't read enough about it. I couldn't study enough about it. If I had to give a nugget to anybody out there: When your passion aligns with your gifts and you really put it together, man, you catch fire. And that's what happened, and I entered into the profession. Then as I went through the athletic training program at West Virginia University, I did some internships throughout my years there trying to get a feel for what kind of setting I wanted to work in. I did work in professional baseball for a little bit, an internship, did some basketball stuff, and then did football which was awesome. I'll be honest with you, the ability to really help people in football because of the massive injuries and the sport itself, it caught fire there. I did an internship with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and they called me back the next year for a seasonal internship and that's all she wrote. I climbed from there. So long story short, that's my track and how I got into this profession of performance and athletic training. At the end of the day, it's because I love to care for people and see people get back to what they love to do. We can help them get there. That's what we're built on here. We're built on caregiving first, being others-centered and passionate about wanting to help somebody because you truly do care. It's amazing how far that goes. There's a lot of power in that."
You are one of the few black people in the NFL to hold your role, what does that mean to you? Do you hope to be inspiration to others in this field that are coming up now?
"I think it's awesome. I think it's so important in the NFL to have such an initiative and to try to get more African Americans/Black and Brown people who have diverse backgrounds, and even females, which is a big initiative too, in executive positions and higher up positions in the NFL. I think that's great.
First of all, it's very humbling and I'm honored to get here. I think there's a responsibility as we continue to make this sport more diverse and sports in general more diverse in these positions. I think it's a great responsibility that I do have. It's funny, it was never a thought of mine to get there in that state of mind. I think it's one of those things where I just wanted to put my head down and I woke up one day and here I am. And now I look at it as, the more that I'm up here, the more I do see it as a responsibility. I think in terms of inspiration, what's so cool about it, from my perspective, is when I grew up I wanted to be around sports. You see professional athletes and you see professional athletes that look like you, right? Brown, Black, that's what you see and you say, 'I want to get to the professional world and that's how I've got to get there,' because that's all I saw. I think what's really inspirational, hopefully for a lot of young diverse people, is to understand that you don't have to be an athlete to get into sports and get to a high level. 'Wow, I do see Cameron Brown. I do see a Reggie Scott. I do see a (Detroit Lions Vice President and General Manager) Brad Holmes. I can be in high elite level sports and not be an athlete.' I didn't see that. I wanted to be Allen Iverson, but if I knew that there was a Reggie Scott out there, maybe it would have sparked me more. I think I fell into this profession and it's funny now that I'm in this profession. I look at mentors above me, the (New York Giants Senior VP of Medical Services) Ronnie Barnes and other people that came before me. You can truly inspire to be people in sports that might not be the athletes because as we know, the majority of athletes are predominantly diverse - African American, Black, Brown. I think that's the inspiration and hopefully they can see outside of the scope of the sport itself. There's so many things that people can be within sports."
What does Black History Month mean to you?
"I want to say it like this. I look at Black History Month as something we should celebrate all the time. Whether that's right or wrong, it's something we should always celebrate. I think we should celebrate diversity. We should celebrate the Black and Brown people that create great momentum in our profession in sports and outside of sports. I think it should be celebrated all the time and it's awesome what the Rams are doing to spotlight some of these individuals and hopefully create more momentum. That is something we should celebrate all the time..I think it's really cool to do. For me personally, it's so cool to learn about so much. I thought last year, just learning about Kenny Washington and some of these hidden stories that you just don't know about, brings so much light to how much the African American culture has brought to this country, to sports and everything else."
Why do you think it's important that the Rams organization celebrate Black History Month?
"I think it's going through the same length. It's really important for the LA Rams to do it and be supportive of the cause. I think there's so many diverse people within the Rams organization that deserve to be celebrated, not just me. There's so many in this organization that have truly pushed us forward, off the field and on the field. For us to be able to celebrate some of these people, as much as we celebrate everybody with the LA Rams, is really cool. To be able to do that this month, really is a credit to the LA Rams organization and the diversity council and what they're doing. It's really special and hopefully it inspires others."
What did you think about Max's work and photo collage of you? What was that process like? How did he capture you in your element?
"You know what? What's so funny, to be honest with you…it was really hard for me because I don't like people taking pictures of me. I'm really a modest man. I was like, 'This was weird. I got to sit here and pose and take pictures, not my style.' Right? I kept saying to Max, 'Dude!' and he's like, 'Oh, just relax.' I'm like, 'Man, I don't even want to take these pictures!' Then I was worried about other people seeing me, they're going to make fun of me. But I will say this at the end. What's really cool is I went through the whole process and was seeing him take these pictures and afterwards, what I loved about it is how detailed he was. You can tell he took his job very seriously. At the end of it, I was like, 'Can I just see a couple of pictures?' I mean, I'm interested to see them because of all the stuff they were seeing with the lighting, and saying all these different words…I'm like, 'Okay, it's just a picture.' Then he showed me some of them and I went, 'Holy crap! That is an elite picture!' He took a picture of the backdrop and the blue sky and I'm looking at it like, 'Dude, that is an elite picture…' The first thing I thought to myself was, 'It's amazing when people are passionate and elite at their craft and how you appreciate them in their space.' This is Max's space. It's just photography. But he took it so seriously. When he showed me his product, the artistic ability that I saw in that…This is a young African American man who told me his story, how he left New York and New Jersey to come over here just to get in. This guy is passionate about it. Elite about it. I thought that was so cool to see. And honestly, it inspired me. I think what you'll find when people are elite is two things. It was on this show called A Search for Greatness that talked about all the elite athletes, Wayne Gretzky, Jordan, had Pele on there, all these guys. The two things that they had was a rage of mastery, like they were on fire, and things came to them very easily. It came to Max very easily. It's about lining up with your gifts, right? Your gifts along with what you love to do. I felt that with Max a little bit when he's doing this. I'm like, "Dude, this really came easy.' You could tell the way he's doing it. This was natural. This is what he does. You can tell with the way he was seeing it. He had a rage of mastery to be the best. For a guy to leave New Jersey, come to LA with no job or nothing and now he's doing commercials and stuff, it was pretty cool to see and inspired me. I think that's a great piece that's captures this message because here are two people, African American, just in their own little space…but the rage of mastery with which they want to do things inspires each other."
Who were some black leaders and icons that you looked up to growing up? How have they inspired you to do what you're doing today?
"That's a tough one. Growing up, my family was my main one. I think my two best friends. I wouldn't say I looked up to them, but they kind of guided me early in my career and throughout my life. I think later in my life, I started gathering mentors. When I was young, I looked at Michael Jordan, "AI" (Allen Iverson) and all those guys just because I didn't know any better. But when I got my first internship was with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tony Dungy was there. I'll never forget when I was a summer intern, I thought I was a nobody and was just there for Training Camp. One day I sat there eating lunch he came, sat down next to me, and ate lunch. He asked me my name. He said, 'Hey, what do you do?' I said, 'I'm Reggie Scott. I'm a summer intern in the athletic training department." I was so delighted that he really wanted to get to know me. He was asking me questions and the rest of training camp when he came up to me, he remembered my name. 'Hey Reggie, how are you doing?' To this day, I still can't do that. He met me one time, remembered my name and never forgot it. That was so inspiring. I ended up reading all of his books. In one of his books "Quiet Strength", one thing that I loved about him is he was so steady. I think wherever you see success you see consistency and his emotional intelligence was elite consistently, with the highs and lows. Everybody likes to feel valued and you want to give people that time and space because value is about time and giving someone time. He gave me time and I'll never forget that."
We had (Former Buccaneers DT) Warren Sapp, (Former Buccaneers S) John Lynch and (Former Buccaneers LB) Derrick Brooks. We had all these personalities and this guy was just steady. Everybody had respect because he was so consistent. You knew exactly what you were going to get every day. He was probably one of my earliest African American mentors that I looked up to. From there, (Giants Senior Vice President, Medical Services/Head Athletic Trainer) Ronnie Barnes, (Chargers Director Of Football/Medical Services) James Collins and all those older athletic trainers, they'd probably slap me knowing that I said older, but older as in I looked up to them when I got into the profession and they were who I wanted to be one day. I remember when Ronnie Barnes was PFATS (Professional Football Athletic Trainers Society) and NATA's (National Athletic Trainer's Association) President. I'm thinking,'Wow, that is so cool,' and here I am today, PFTAS President, and I never thought in a million years that this would come to pass. The other person I look up to a lot is my wife, Tina (Scott). Believe it or not, she's a mentor to me because she has such a strong, stoic consistency about her. I gravitate to people that are consistent. I think her approach with our family, our kids and how she continues to do that is really cool too. She's someone I look up to each and every day. So not a ton of mentors, in terms of people I look up to, but those are some really cool ones that I think that are important."