Justin TuckJanuary 27
Justin Tuck is a former NFL defensive end for the New York Giants and Oakland Raiders. During his eleven seasons in the NFL, Tuck won two Super Bowl titles before retiring from the league and pursuing his MBA at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Tuck now spends his time as a Vice President at Goldman Sachs and as a father to two children. Justin joins Alexis in New York City to discuss his favorite family rituals, why education is so important to him and his wife and his fear of snakes.
Justin Tuck spent 11 year with the New York Giants and Oakland Raiders. Shortly after his retirement from football, Justin completed his MBA, enjoying Goldman Sachs, where he currently serves as the vice president in the private wealth management group. Justin lives in the New York area with his wife, Lauren, and his sons, who are 10 and 6.
This is business, Dad. How does a professional football player carve out time with this kid's during the season? On this episode, Alexis Ohanian talks with former NFL All Pro defensive end and warden N B A Justin Tuck, Justin's 11 year career with the New York Giants and Oakland Raiders, including 66 a half sacks to Super Bowl championships, as well as all Pro Bowl and Pro Bowl honors. Shortly after his retirement from football, Justin completed his MBA, enjoying Goldman Sachs, where he currently serves as the vice president in the private wealth management group. Justin lives in the New York area with his wife, Lauren, and his sons, who were 10 and six. Business Dad is brought to you by initialized Initialize investing early stage technology companies and helps founders of wood, the thousands of land mines that can cause failure. Visit initialized dot com to find out more.
Alexis says that after becoming a dad, he has unlocked a new part of the world that gave him a sense of purpose, but also a sense of pride. Being a dad also came with a tons of frustration and a ton of life hacks.
it was an intriguing concept,
and we've been talking to folks now at the top of their game across so many different industries,
and it's just cool.
I feel like I unlocked this part of the of the world that I didn't have access to until I was a dad.
And then I started talking all these people in a totally different way about this thing that they really cared deeply about.
That gave him a sense of purpose,
but also a sense of pride.
And then also tons of frustration on all of those things.
And I've been learning a ton of life hacks.
you are two time Super Bowl winners.
Should have been an EVP at least one of those times.
If not everyone and anyone.
You went to school,
got an MBA from Warden. And now you're a Goldman, like not a bad run here. You've You've been so dominant, so successful. And what I really want to talk about, though, is how you do it all as a father and a husband, how you balance all that. And we had some conversations, actually, just on the other side of that table, about the moment when you were you were done with the league and you were hanging out at home and you were talking with your kids. Can you Can you want me through that
Justin realized that if he was going to sit around and home and waste his time, his kids would not have a role model to inspire them.
I just retired.
And at that moment it was like Ha made it.
I can sit down and do nothing for a while on and waking up every morning and going to play golf or go hang out with some buddies at a bar or,
whatever may be sitting in the yard.
Just listen to the birds trade.
What really hit me was made My wife.
We do this thing called fair part of the day.
So every night we would sit down,
the kids were eating dinner and,
kids who went off to school or was playing with their friends after school.
We wanted know things about that.
So we asked you tell us about your day.
Tell us about your favorite today and for me.
I realize very quickly that every last four or five days, I only thing I had to say waas you know, I played golf with this guy. I got a birdie on 16. You know something like that, right? So hit me quickly that you know how my kids was five and 1/2 2 and 1/2 and I was like that. I'm gonna really remember anything I did on the football field or in philanthropy. Whatever Maybe if I keep this round. So when they're 18 1920 21 years old, there is there time to go off to kind of make a life for themselves. What was gonna be the legacy? That means their father had kind of instilled in them. So I made the decision right then and there, I need you to do something different. Didn't necessarily know it's gonna be financed that No,
it's gonna be warden. But things fell into place, and and I truly believe that the guy picture in these positions, you supposed to be there. So, um, that's kind of how I started.
Did you have
a moment? You were You were a professional football player with a couple of young kids. And how how did that all work? Because when when it is during the NFL season, I imagine you are wholly focused. Sure, to the game, and especially with all the travel, like you're doing everything you can to try to balance that out. Did Was it your was your family travelling with you? Was it? How did you make that
Justin says that that football is actually pretty scheduled, which makes it easy to plan ahead and find the time for family.
all work? Well, luckily, in football you travels. It's pretty scheduled. So, you know exactly when and where you're gonna be. So it allows you to kind of do things around your family based off of. We knew that Friday, you know, we were gonna be out of town or off at a home game. I knew we had to stay in the hotel zone on Saturday. So Saturday and Sunday. Most of the time was kind of out of our commission doing this, even
for the family. And so you're like, locked in. You're not like you get ready for the game, you're
You're locked there like I would say,
like there's a little skip.
It's a time doing Saturday before I go to the hotel.
I was kind of going great game plan stuff and have,
Just trying teaching the game.
I passed the for the family.
That's what they did.
That that little stuff was obviously still great.
But that was that was that was small snippets because most of time he didn't want to sit there and watch it,
and he'll be jumping on my hand so I would have to kind of like,
you play the Legos for made it out the back of this.
But during the week,
especially as I became a veteran and didn't have to go into the facility as much I use Monday and Tuesday as full family time. Family Day? Well, that was movies. Those going out to dinner with my wife Wednesdays you kind of back in the mold. But it was back in the motor, only doing football hours, so I would say 6 to 4 30 and then that that evening time, it would be a total family. I've never tried to bring my work home until my kids with sleep so they wouldn't sleep in nine out, go do some notes and watch a few film to a private little bit. But I tried tonight, allow my kids seeing me work that didn't always work out. But that was kind of a
lot of those Mondays and Tuesdays important to you.
I really got the opportunity to be on interrupted with my family some of those days,
blended in with some of the philanthropy work we do,
but I tried to bring my family along with that.
My wife and I are very passionate about education and kids,
so we would go visit some of our schools are some of the sights or go visit Scholastica.
First book it's for is thinking about how we what books we're gonna donate.
It's also for that was kind of a R thing as well.
So it was happening.
My wife is,
her biggest thing with me.
We would be having intellectual conversations when we could,
the little small stuff is for is making sure the count is a big are talking about this guy who I want,
rip his throat out. I'm playing them on Sunday. That is, having stuff, anything. So, like these things when he was going to visit the school is opportunities to really connect on a more intellectual side of things.
This is and this is something I did not appreciate until I found myself in a relationship with a professional athlete, which is the amount of time that you all have to invest, especially if you wantto really that highest level in time away from the game, in making sure that you're getting this time, this nourishment, whether it's whether it's it's the time with family, whether it's in this case, your time with the philanthropic work, where it is so important when it's time to rip someone's throat out, that you're focused on that and you're planning for that, but that I think as as fans as outsiders, we don't appreciate how much time it takes to actually lock yourself away from all of that work so you can give yourself, mentally and physically, time to recover and get
What I try to do also is like in that recovery time in that missile recharge time in that time,
while I was getting a side of the acupuncture,
or I tried to have my son's around still being talked to him.
I'm sitting in coach over the house and and have a higher like touch the water there.
I don't get it today,
but still having those moments where they see when they get old enough and they start doing things like that,
they'll realize that that's one of things that made a greater things that he had to do on top of the stuff I saw on so but I think right now my son is a great soccer player.
He doesn't understand yet that you know we have the hired hand level.
You go up more things outside of just playing well on the field is gonna translate in him becoming the player that he wants to be,
but like the average fan,
they really do not understand that.
obviously we have a practice time.
We have meeting times.
And for those who want to be above and beyond better than his competition, there's times where you you allocate more time to the little things that make you great taking care of your body. You meet with a nutritionist, the obviously cold to a life of acupuncture, chiropractic just being on being alone, in which your thoughts sometimes And that's I mean, it's 24 hours a day. I think the guys and girls who do it the best are the ones who really understand time management, but also the ones that have that spouse, or that that team around them that also understands that, say, second fiddle. That ain't the right phrase, but it's like we have to allow them this opportunity. We have to allow them their opportunity, use a platform for what they're doing, and I'm blessed and having a wife that truly got that and understood that and inhaled a lot of other things down around our life that allowed me to thrive in the road. I have a mathlete
and how would you say that's changed now that you're in the world of finance? Uh, what's similar was
I still still still complicated,
but my job now gives me a more flexibility.
I think it has made me communicate better with my wife.
Given the fact that you know I have that flexibility.
It's not a set schedule.
So I have to be on top of things as far as making sure I understand her and the kids schedule before I say yes to a meeting or ah,
trip or some like that.
but I mean,
I'm not a lot of changed.
My wife is tremendously understanding and understand the opportunities that we have,
and I think the only difference now is because of that flexibility is allowing her to do a little bit more in the things that she's passionate about,
which I'm also.
I told her I would not take this job if there ever came a time where she wanted to do something. I couldn't allow her to do it because she did so much for me, allowing me in 11 years of football to not have to worry about other things other than you know, me becoming a vessel popular. Sorry. You know, I look at it like now is my time to allow her to do the same thing. And just so happens that, you know, my role is allowing us to have that flexibility to do both, which is truly a blessing.
And I love the I love the ritual you'll have around the highs and lows of the day, and I first got introduced to that through my wife's family, and I love it. And are there other things that you do to build that relationship to build that connection with your kids?
My biggest thing is,
always listen to your kids.
Listen to him with the small things,
the things that you think now don't matter.
I lost my purple crown.
Listen to him and let him know you listeningto because I truly believe that if you pay attention to your kids now on the small things bill.
That relationship will be the same when they're 17 18.
There's some bigger things that that some parents might have missed because they don't have a relationship with a kiss meant that younger age where they got comfortable.
And I got a custom set to talking to Dad and Mom about things,
So I mean,
I try my best,
and I know my wife's a whole lot better than I am,
but we try our best to really have in depth conversations with a kid.
I know that some people like you have an in depth conversation with six years. You know, they're smarter than what you think they are. They just don't know at the time. They don't necessarily know how to verbalize
that way. Given the floor,
we give them a floor to least try to. And as they get older after giving him the floor, obviously when there are 8 10 12 and so on and so forth, they get better at verbalizing things. And I think it definitely bodes well for the relationship that I want to have on my kids when they're when you go off to college, right? I'm not gonna be there every day. But I feel I I think I'll feel confident in the fact that if something happens good or bad, they'll have the hopefully the relationship with my kids. They will come and tell me and not be the kid. It's like I got a prior everything or find out another way. I just feel like that is gonna bowl will
later in life.
I love hearing this.
My wife teases me all the time because Olympia has.
She has these conversations with me where it's still just gibberish.
and and I'll respond to her like she's a real like like have like like,
I don't know if I agree with that Oh,
and and and she'll just go and talk.
I do it purely for my own enter town because I think this is a really cute Um,
but I'm encouraged to hear you say this as advice because there is so much going on in there,
and I know as someone who I really value being able to communicate,
it's a big part of enemy,
no doubt a big part of your job as well,
like we need to be able to have conversations to connect with people,
and it would feel so terrible toe have all the same ideas about communication and be trapped in a little body that can't really do it. Well, that would that would be a personal hell. And so I empathize with this little person who's got the same sort of ambitions to want to communicate as any of us. But I can't. What do you think about nurturing this and developing this? You're clearly thinking a few years ahead about the kind of person you want your Children to become. What what are your goals and ambitions for them, especially with with a really successful dad? What? What are the things you're hoping you open Your son, you know, goes into sports, has a career there. What's what's the goal for
I I'm not one of those people who are gonna be like,
I want my son to be in this sector songs.
This huge hit fun guy probably would want my kid to go in the house.
I have three good athletic career.
I don't necessarily want my son playing sports.
I won't be playing,
but I don't want the plan because I'm following my dad split steps.
One reason why I named my kid Justin Jr.
I go out and create your own path.
I think my job is your father and our job is your parents with my wife is to give you that opportunity.
Utilize you utilize whoever platform that way,
have a family to open up doors for our kids to see different things.
If he wants to be a lacrosse player,
if he wants to be a surgeon,
if he wants to be an astronaut,
he wants to be a fisherman. I think what my job is to just make sure that whatever he decides on doing in life, that it has been official to this world and he does get 100%. And I don't know any thought that could ever be disappointing their kids, if they found what they want to do, that passion to do it and it didn't went after it wholeheartedly. That's all I want for my kids. So I get the question all times. Would you let your kid play football? They are always telling me, Ask that question the wrong way. The word let it is very, very just the wrong words because, well, I love him. Yeah,
I would let him go. I want to know. I know it's not. It doesn't have a lot to do with the injury stuff and all that. It's just I feel as though no matter how did they are bad they are. Everyone's always gonna try to compare them to me in the space. I don't want that. I don't want I want I want them to be somewhere where they're free and allowed to just blossom as who they are And you know, from me, I I think my wife is completely the same way she wants to play soccer cup. That was her sport, but yeah, I just want them to do whatever they're gonna do. 100%
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that that doing it at 100% thing has come up a couple times here and it's ah, I can see the direct line, certainly, from being such a successful professional athlete like there just is not room for giving less than 100% effort, especially leery the odds, right? Like like they're our farm or the odds of being ah, Warden MBA, as as challenging and hard as that is, are still far better than being a professional athlete, let alone a two
time Super Bowl winner.
I tell my kids all the time control what you can't control.
You can't control the coach play calling.
You can't control the referee calling a foul.
And when the guy took,
you know you can control that,
but you can't control the effort you can control how much work you put in?
I was out.
I was on the yard one day and I bought my kid a jump rope.
had basketball practice where they jump rope for two minutes prior.
You need to get better dump open.
I say you could control that.
And then the next morning,
I saw him outside jumper,
those type of things where I'm super products,
he could He could never make a shot.
Right? But the fact that I know he's gonna put in a word he said he recognized it was something he needed to get better. And he proactively did that and has continued to do that. So, yeah, those type of things, man. It definitely want long. And that's me know that. You know, the kid gets it, he's getting it. But again, my job is to just continue to stir him and that same thing when it comes due him doing his homework or him writing this book report, same thing you have to be there for Mr because they don't know. I have no clue.
They don't have no clue what this means later in life. So that's what you say. Like playing 1 to 3 years ahead. He don't understand that reading this book now developing this love for reading or whatever it may be how that's gonna be, too. Fear him later in life, when you go to college and depending on what he wants to do, we might be reading three or four books a week. Yeah, but if we set that tone for him now and that's that's like second nature for,
Do you think about all of the possibilities for these for these futures? These like future timelines. Do you think about them when you see I don't know those There's early sort of interests of those early steps like, Do you find yourself like seem like wow like they're like, there's an interest here for our There's an interest here for something and then and then feeding into that and trying to find excuses to Lake. Oh, let's if you like. There's there's an exhibition here at the MoMA, like if this is the path for art or what's the
100 are my kids? It goes as far as just the toys they put with really like when I'm watching TV and I see him play with. They owe something on a toy or something bad loans this within the guidelines of world we want. We go get that toy. Same thing we're going out. And my son. I tell my kids all the time we're in the car looking out the window and see what you see. 10. What you see. So I found out my kids love animals, so we take him to zoos. I'm from Alabama. I go to any time we get the opportunity. Go back. Alabama. Taken to a farm. I hate snakes. My son's love safe. So what I do taking to a farm has has
a handle on the whole thing? I do not. I
locked the door and looked at the people, but they I won't allow my short comments to effect in something that they love. Right? And like you said Art, my wife is tremendously involved in art and museums, and every time we go on a vacation, it's a learning experience. When we go to Greece, it is saying any ruin, any museum, any anything that has a story behind it, you know, I want to go to the beach in kind of relax and listen to the waves. My wife has itinerary
over. She's gonna planned
out. And it's great. No, because I know I didn't grow up like that. I grew up as a country boy and killed in Alabama on exposure I had was your Cal a pig and a couple chickens, few dirt roads here and there. So my mind, my upbringing. I'm not good at that. My wife is tremendous. And I allow her to do it because I know how beneficial is for raising culture kids. And in this next wave of years,
right, this And so this is this is what I was getting it because you obviously have so much ability now through the career that you've had to provide for your kids are there are there lessons? Because Because you did not come up with that, not grow with that same. Um, So what are the lessons and one of the values and how do you manage? Because, because, I mean, we talked about this around the house, to which is you want your Children to appreciate hard work and all these other values that are much easier to appreciate when you don't have a lot of you have a ton of privilege. So how do you find that balance of making sure that they get that exposure to the appreciation and those values well, at the same time being able to provide them with all kinds of amazing experiences that,
we're constantly becomes an anarchist is telling them that just how blessed they are backing it up by showing him well,
let's go take a walk in Newark.
Let's go to a soup kitchen,
Let's go look at how for My wife sits on the board of Ah Foster care organization.
You exceed it.
We go to foster home.
We we take him to schools,
schools that we sponsor,
giving them exposure.
How other people live to help them understand.
We make sure they understand why.
Why we are so terribly inclined. Why are we giving and what it was the right way to be chirping doing because, you know, unfortunately, in this world, a lot of people Children given, just so they could put their name on something and say, Look at me, I don't I don't ever wanna be a socially with any of the things we've done to you because I wanted my name in the paper. No, I want my kids understand? Because because coming from where I came from, I know that so many people have blessed me whether I know woman that and you've probably heard me say this before. But I realized I could never pay it back. I can only pay it forward. You know,
so many people have picked my name into someone else's ear without even knowing. And that might have circulated into this job or that opportunity, whether maybe I could never think that person I only know that person is. But the thing I can do is saying that the blessings that God has blessed me try to utilize that the less of us. And hopefully me and my wife are doing a pretty good job of conveying that to our kids and making sure that they understand that when much is given, much is do so. That's kind of how we
approach it. Well, look, and it's, you know, actions speak louder than words, and clearly I think the actions speaking pretty loudly. Thank you, sir. That's a good, very good note to end on Justin Man,
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