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Taking Names: Serena Williams stars in new NFL gear ads

- - Sunday, August 5, 2012

Football fans will soon be pulling out their jerseys, but a few have gotten a jump on the season: Serena Williams, Melania Trump and Condoleezza Rice are among the NFL fans who'll be appearing in ads promoting team-themed apparel and gear next week in a campaign called "It's My Team."

And these outfits aren't just for game day. There are fitted blazers, burn-out T-shirts and earrings.

In her ad, Williams — who is not only a fan but also a limited partner in the Miami Dolphins — wears her colors in a graphic T-shirt paired with a dressy little black jacket. The image makes its debut in September magazines.

"Forty-five percent of fans are female and that continues to grow," says Tracey Bleczinski, vice president of NFL consumer products. "We do have something for everyone, and this campaign aims to communicate that if you are living and wearing football, you can do it every day, year-round."

After the photo shoot, TV host and former Olympic swimmer Summer Sanders wore her outfit home, Ms. Bleczinski says, and that's just what the NFL wanted.

What fan gear to wear is something that Suzanne Johnson, philanthropist wife of New York Jets owner Woody Johnson, finds herself discussing a lot.

"The female fan looks not only at the game, but the whole stadium experience," she says. "I have girlfriends that come with me to games on a weekly basis, and they'll ask, 'What are you wearing?'"

She adds, "Women are still women."

Mrs. Johnson says she thinks female interest in football is on the rise because women like to be part of a group, and a stadium — or even a family room filled with fans — has a feeling of camaraderie that adults going about their own busy lives don't often get.

Plus, NFL gear can be a conversation starter.

"I always tell single girls, you're more approachable if you're wearing your Jets clothes," Mrs. Johnson says.

Tyson says he's used to putting life on stage

Pounding out the details of his personal life on a Broadway stage doesn't seem to faze Mike Tyson. The former heavyweight champ says that's what he's used to doing, "and at least now I don't have to go to hospital every time."

The 46-year old Mr. Tyson is appearing in the one-man show, "Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth." Directed by Spike Lee, the nearly two-hour show chronicles Mr. Tyson's life from childhood and his early boxing career to his public divorce from Robin Givens and his time spent in prison. He even talks about an incident with Brad Pitt.

"I'm just joking and stuff. I'm not mad at anyone. I hope he gives me a damn job," Tyson told the Associated Press Thursday, the same day as the show's opening.

Mr. Lee chimed in: "He asked for a job."

Mr. Lee, famous for chronicling stories about Brooklyn in such films as "Crooklyn," "She's Gotta Have It" and the upcoming "Red Hook Summer," feels this work adds nicely to the collection.

"You can't get more Brooklyn than Mike Tyson. And if you remember the film, 'Do the Right Thing,' the great Robin Harris [playing Sweet Dick Willie] had many references to Mike. And on the side of Sal's Famous Pizzeria we painted a mural, 'Brooklyn's Finest: Mike Tyson,' so this is history," Mr. Lee said.

While Mr. Tyson's life has been tumultuous at times, the boxer says he can deal with telling intimate details to a room full of strangers simply because "it's a job to be done."

"Even though it's real, it's not real. It's an illusion," Tyson says.

Compiled from wire reports.