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FAN Token Founders, with Ray Austin

The FCFL, powered by the FAN Token, will soon kick off and launch a new era in the professional sports landscape; one where the very foundation of league operations and fandom are completely flipped, and power is turned over to the fans who truly sustain the sport with their energy, passion, and dollars. But while the implementation of such a flipped model of management (no longer done behind closed doors by an elite few, but rather very publicly by a decentralized vote) is a brand new to the world, its origins have been in the works for several years.

The co-founders of the FAN Token have been working on this thesis since well before the concept of token economies and “ICOs” ever breached the mainstream (to the extent that crypto can be classified as “mainstream”). As digital tokens began to gain popularity, the idea to leverage this technology as the mechanism for distributing real-time votes via the blockchain and utilizing tokens as a reward system became a natural fit for such a decentralized league structure.

That is to say, we are not crypto people by nature: we are sports, gaming, and digital media experts who have navigated toward this revolutionary method of engagement. As such, we’d like to tell you a bit more about who we really are.

For today’s featured co-founder, we start with our resident footballer who will act as Commissioner of the FCFL: former NFL safety Ray Austin.

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Ray grew up as an Army brat, bouncing around where his family moved to be stationed. By the time he reached high school, Ray was living in Hawaii and joined the varsity football team. His running back that year, Adrian Murrell, was recruited to play at West Virginia University before moving on to the NFL for nearly a decade. He helped show Ray that football could have a serious career path if he remained dedicated, and when Ray was drafted by the New York Jets later in his life, Adrian (a Jet himself) was the first person to offer congratulations.

Later in high school, Ray moved to Lawton, Oklahoma. The first person he met there was Olympic sprinter Jason Rouser, who suggested to Ray’s father that he check out Lawton Eisenhower High School if he was interested in football. He was, and with Ray in the defensive backfield, the team won the USA Today National Championship that season. The second-ranked team was quarterbacked by a gentleman by the name of Donovan McNabb.

Ray was a two-sport All American his senior year of high school, and was actively recruited by nearly every college in the country… except for the one he most wanted to attend, the University of Tennessee. Ever the entrepreneur, Ray created his own film package and highlight tape (long before such a thing was standard practice in the prep ranks) and sent it to the coaching staff, who agreed to meet with him the next week. The rest is history.

Ray joined the Volunteers and worked his way to team captain his senior year alongside future Super Bowl winner Leonard Little, current Texas A&M running backs coach Jay Graham, and some QB named Manning, first name Peyton.

Ray was drafted in the fifth round of the 1997 NFL Draft by the New York Jets. He played in the NFL for three seasons with the Jets and the Chicago Bears, and also played for the Chicago Enforcers during the only season of the XFL in 2001.

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During his football career, Ray had the chance to play for some of the greatest coaches of the era, including legendary high school coach Tim Reynolds, National Championship-winning college coach Phillip Fulmer, Lovie Smith, Greg Schiano, John Chavis, Kevin Ramsey, and of course Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick. In fact, when Ray was drafted by the Jets, it was the assistant Belichick (who was Ray’s defensive backs coach), and not head coach Parcells, who made the selection.

In other words, the GOAT of coaching (football or otherwise) specifically targeted Ray to play in his defense. Not bad.

After his football career, Ray transitioned to life as an entrepreneur and actor/model (not the other way around). Ray has been featured in over 100 commercials for brands such as Coors, Ford, and McDonalds. He has been a member of the Screen Actors Guild for over a decade.

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Ray was working on his own startup, an application that would let fans submit their own play designs to football teams to implement into their game plans, when he was introduced to a group of other entrepreneurs looking to purchase a professional football team where fans could call the plays in real-time. So was birthed the Salt Lake Screaming Eagles, the proof-of-concept organization that helped give way to the creation of FAN Token.

But Ray is more than just a ball-hawk defender and pretty face: he is a man in full. Ray would tell you that he responds to several nicknames, including (but not limited to): SugaRay, Sting Ray, O.C. (because he was Out of Control on the field), ADVIL (former NFL star Aaron Glenn would say that Ray brought headaches to opponents when he hit them), Ray-Ray, Sug, Cookie Daddy (for his role on the TV show Empire), the Bald Eagle, and now “THE COMMISH.” We welcome submissions for new nicknames from any and all fans!

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Ray is also married to Mrs. Commish and has two kids and a blue amstaff pit bull named Devereaux. Outside of those four, he loves sushi more than just about anything (growing up in Hawaii, that’s sort of a staple). He doesn’t watch much TV, but he does binge YouTube with a passion, and he can’t wait to see Black Panther, coming to a theater near you!

You can find Ray on Twitter @RayAustin36. Drop him a tweet about all-things FAN Token or FCFL – he’d love to chat!

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