For longtime sports fans, Leigh Steinberg needs no introduction. Over the past four decades, Steinberg has represented NFL stars from Troy Aikman to Patrick Mahomes. His career inspired the hit movie Jerry Maguire. He’s also consistently advocated for charitable causes, honoring fellow football philanthropists yearly with the Steinberg DeNicola Awards.

Steinberg recently spoke with Worth Magazine about the intersection of sports, charity, and morality. He said the key to running an ethical business is to treat your professional relationships as you would your personal ones.

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“I was brought up by a father with two core values,” Steinberg said. “One was, ‘treasure relationships, especially family.’ And the second was ‘try to make a meaningful impact in the world. Cure pain. Help people who can’t help themselves.’ So when you’re looking for someone to make a change, look in the mirror.


“We don’t have situational ethics. You use the same value system that you use being nice to your wife, and cats and dogs, and your neighbors, when you go out in the workplace … We’re trying to show people that you can make an impact, work well, be financially successful, and still have a giving heart.”

Over the years, Steinberg has tried to instill the same values in the athletes he represents. He claimed that he’s even declined potential clients who weren’t interested in charity work. Since professional athletes compete on a national stage, Steinberg argued, they can have an outsize influence on how their fans choose to act.

“Athletes can trigger imitative behavior. So when we had Lennox Lewis, the heavyweight champ, cut a public service announcement that said, ‘real men don’t hit women,’ it could do more to help with rebellious adolescents’ attitudes toward domestic violence than 1,000 authorities can,” Steinberg said. “We’re trying to create a new generation that’s ethical, value-driven, that will make a contribution in the world of sports.”


In terms of philanthropy in sports, Steinberg has a particular interest in brain health. American football causes a staggering amount of traumatic brain injuries. Helping players recover is one of Steinberg’s favored causes, and medical technology has come a long way in the past 30 years.

“I had a crisis of conscience back in the late ‘80s, because I’m representing half the starting quarterbacks in the NFL, and they keep getting hit in the head,” he said. “And we go to doctors, ‘how many is too many? When should I retire?’ No answer.

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“Now it’s pretty exciting, because there are ways to cure an impaired brain. I hope to introduce this into the world of professional and collegiate sports.”

This year’s Leigh Steinberg Super Bowl Party started with a Brain Health Summit, which discussed the intersection of sports and neuroscience. The party also hosted a “Brain and Biohacking Lounge,” Steinberg said was “filled with healing modalities.”

“The breakthroughs in biomed are stunning,” he concluded.