As part of the Rams' celebration of Black History Month, the organization is highlighting the diverse and meaningful ways Black staff move our team forward on and off the field.
Up first is Equipment Assistant Antuan Ivory.
Rams Equipment Assistant Antuan Ivory believes representation in an NFL locker room is important because it's "giving the players a sense of familiarity and hope."
"Being Black men/women in America, we have experienced some of the same situations," Ivory said. "From those experiences alone we are able to relate to each other more, which causes us to build a faster bond than most. For example, me seeing Vice President of Communications Artis Twyman and Vice President of Sports Medicine and Performance Reggie Scott everyday gives me a sense of hope that one day I will be in their position."
Ivory is looking to set an example himself in his role in the team's equipment department.
He began his journey with the Rams in 2021 as a fellow, and after two years in that role, was promoted to Equipment Assistant. His primary responsibilities revolve around player apparel, helmets and game day kicking balls.
"The best part of my job is being able to help people achieve their goals," Ivory said. "Whether it's a player or coach, I know that what I'm doing is going to help them succeed."
Support comes from those inside and outside of the sports industry.
Within the industry, Ivory said Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) Associate Athletic Director of Equipment and Capital projects Larry Maples and Rip City Remix Head Equipment Manager Aeric Walker – who served as a Graduate Assistant of Equipment Operations with him at MTSU – are the two people who have helped him the most in his career.
"Larry Maples gave me my first opportunity in the sports industry. He is a fearless leader who is constantly working to improve the people around him while also advancing his own career," Ivory said. "Since day one of us meeting Aeric has always been in my corner. He is a person I know I can call when I need advice about life or my career."
Meanwhile, his motivation comes from family and friends, who have continued to support him.
"Growing up, my parents always put a huge emphasis on keeping family close," Ivory said. "My family, especially my parents and aunts, always told me that I would be something special and making their statements true has always been my goal. My friends are the ones who give me the drive to achieve my goals. Clara Foster (girlfriend), Stephen Adams, Christopher Willams, Malcom Horton, Jamarcus Lowe, Darius Adams and Sterling Bradley will forever motivate me to keep going."
Just like the support he was given from the two people most helpful to him in his career, Ivory said that inspire change to him means "giving and creating opportunities for people of color."
"I pride myself on being a person who uplifts others who have aspirations of one day being in my shoes," Ivory said. "With initiatives such as inspire change the NFL is opening the door for change within the league."
Honoring the trailblazers who paved the way for others' opportunities is how Ivory recommends celebrating Black History Month.
"I think we should celebrate Black History Month by giving thanks to the trailblazers who made it possible for us to be in spaces that they weren't allowed in," Ivory said. "I also think we should give back to our people who have it harder than us."
For Ivory, Kenny Ran So I Could "continue uplifting the ones who are coming in after me."