FLINT, Michigan -- As a former athlete and someone who has worked in professional and college sports for 15 years, Flint native Jashell Mitchell now sees herself as “the team behind the team” when it comes to supporting sports and youth programs in the city.
Mitchell helped bring the NFL Flag Football League, called FlintStone Elite
, to the city. Games are played at Iroquois Park on the city’s northside.
“Right now, we are set for 10 teams ages 6-13, both boys and girls are able to participate,” she said.
Games are on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. through July 31.
Mitchell was born and raised in Flint and graduated from Flint Northern. She played on back-to-back state championship basketball teams and also played softball and ran track before attending college at Bethune-Cookman University and earning her master’s degree at the University of Memphis. She's currently pursuing her doctorate at East Tennessee State. She was inducted as part of the Flint Northern state championship team into the Greater Flint Sports Hall of Fame in 2016.
Mitchell works for the NFL as the manager of diversity, equity, and inclusion, part of a career that she has spent creating opportunities in athletics for people of all backgrounds. The flag football league is another example of a pathway to find sports success for women in sports -- women’s flag football is now an NAIA sport, and scholarships will be available at some colleges beginning in 2022.
In an interview with the Crim Fitness Foundation earlier this year
, Mitchell said that getting young people involved in sports is important as a way to help promote healthy lifestyles.
“Playing sports isn’t for everybody,” she said in the interview. “But it teaches you different life skills, keeps you healthy, and provides an avenue for you to travel. It also allows you to meet people who can be friends for life.”
Prior to working in the NFL, Mitchell was the director of football operations at North Carolina Central University. As a woman working in a male-dominated sport, Mitchell said she’s had some challenges but her trust in herself and the staff members she’s worked with have helped her overcome them. She is also committed to helping other women who want to work in football or other sports find those opportunities.
“Girls and women that want to get into sports, they can contact me and also (should) research areas of interest in sports, as there are many (opportunities),” she said.
For information about the flag football league, email Mitchell at [email protected]