Introduction: David Dunn born and raised in San Diego, California to Barbara and David Dunn Sr. He has one younger brother and two older sisters. He has three sons, three daughters and one grandson. He was a 1995 fifth round draft pick from Fresno state university to the Cincinnati Bengals. Played seven years in the National Football league with the Pittsburgh Steelers Cleveland Browns and Oakland raiders as a wide receiver and return specialist. He is currently the head Football coach at Lincoln High School in San Diego.
Davon D: Can you tell me about your early life experiences/ lessons?
David D: Early in life I experienced a loving yet dysfunctional family environment. I learned that spending quality time together as a family unit was both fun and exciting. I remember our family being very athletic. As a child we would all get together once or twice a week to watch my father and his 3 brothers compete in adult softball leagues. As I got older I noticed that my cousins and I got that same type of family support from our family members. A very important lesson that I got from growing up in that way is that you always show up to support and encourage your family members when they are involved in extracurricular activities.
Davon D: when did you leave home?
David D: At the age of 18 I left my home in San Diego. I enrolled in Bakersfield Jr. College in Bakersfield Ca. This was my first time being away from my family for an extended period of time. It was hard at first being away from family and friends. But I knew that it was something I had to do in order to focus on my ultimate goal at that particular time. It was tough but it was what I needed at that time in my life. I know that if I would have stayed in San Diego at that time I most likely would have become a product of my environment.
Davon D: how did having a child at an early age impact your life?
David D: Having a child at the age of 20 was definitely a life changing experience for me. It had a huge impact on my life. I was responsible for bringing another life into this world. I had know idea what I was in for. I was excited and terrified at the same time. I knew that I would be a good father to my son. I also knew that I had to focus 10 times harder to make sure that I would a good provider and role model as well. I realized that my life was not all about me anymore. Even though I was young and little immature at the time. I had to step up and become provider and protector for my son. This made me focus more as a man and a father. Failure was not an option. The birth of my son was gave me the focus and drive to relentlessly pursue my goals and dreams.
Davon D: How did you manage to survive?
David D: I managed to survive by learning to deal with life as it comes. Understanding that I am in control my actions and my reactions. Understanding that everyone is uniquely different in how they process life situations. Have a strong belief in GOD and staying in prayer.
Davon D: what traditional gender roles did you internalize and apply to your life?
David D: The traditional gender roles that I internalized in my life are those of provider and protector. Also maintaining a consistent presence in the lives of my children no matter what the circumstances may be. Understanding that I must also encourage, love, advise, and sometimes just listen to my children.
Davon D: How did your profession help you become a progressive man?
David D: As reached my ultimate goal of becoming a Professional Athlete there is one saying that continues to stand out in my mind “Commitment to Excellence”. That is the motto that I have grown to live by. I apply this saying to everything important in my life. I am committed to being an excellent parent, I am committed to being an excellence Coach, I am committed to being an excellent mentor, I am committed to living an excellent life…
Davon D: what do you think you for the San Diego community?
David D: I think that I am a good example for my community. I overcame a lot of of adversity in my life. Being that I choose to do a majority of my volunteer work in the community where I was born and raised. I have been an active member of Valencia Park Pop Warner and Cheer for the past 13yrs as a assistant coach, head coach, coaches director, vice president and now as president.
Davon D: why do you think so many people look up and listen to you?
David D: Having the title as a retired NFL Veteran is always an attention getter. But that fact that I can relate to the everyday struggles that a lot of our kids face. I am honest and real about my conversations.
Davon D: how have working with the young men in the community changed you as a man?
David D: It has made me more focused on making sure that my life is in order. Made me understand how important it is to keep a high level of consistency in everything I do
Davon D: what is your idea of masculinity/ male responsibilities?
David D: Heading your house hold. Being able to make decisions concerning the well-being of your family. Being a good provider and protector for the family.
Davon D: do you think you exemplify that?
David D: yes
Examining my father over the years I have seen the identity change from professional athlete to a progressive black man. I love him for his heart, admire him for his strength, and respect him because of his wisdom. I am in a similar situation to his twenty one years ago. I am playing sports in college and also have a son. I can relate to his struggles, and draw advice for him when necessary. My father always made time to be there for his kids, and help take care of the family as a whole. Whether it was attending football games or helping people in their moments of need. He also was a father figure to most of my friends that came from single parent homes. My family is a very traditional African- American family in the sense of extending, and including friends into our family. He is the cornerstone of the Dunn family. People with in the San Diego community respect him for how he uses his life’s triumphs, and downfalls to reach out and affect the young African- American males in San Diego. He was most recently awarded San Diego Hall of Champions Coach of the Year. He is the head football coach at my alma mater Lincoln High School, President of Valencia Park Pop Warner, Nation Youth Sports League (NYS) Lead Coordinator for North San Diego, and founder of the Get it DUNN non- profit organization. The Get it DUNN non- profit organization purpose is to develop successful student athletes in Southeast San Diego which is an urban African- American community. The organization is also used to provide opportunities for personal growth and development. I think my father rejects historic stereotypes placed on black males such as the Sambo, the Zip Coon, and The Brute, and also modern stereotypes such the Thug. These stereotypes hinder the image of African- American males. Labeling them as hyper- sexual, lazy, violent, irrational, and of weak intellect.
Through this interview he has given insight on his life, and the lessons he has learned. He is using his experiences as a source in assisting these young men that come from the modern day outlaw culture that has developed in the urban African American community become young student- athletes. A real man is one that is able to take his life experiences, analyze them and share with the mass. Man similar to my father is what the African- American community has been missing. I think he exemplifies quality of a progressive male. One that rejects popular culture, embraces his responsibilities and shares his life with his community in hope to have an effect. I appreciate being able to learn from my father, but I am more appreciative of the impact that he has had on my friends, and community. A lot of progressive males do not gain recognition because they do not fit the image, or morals of popular culture. The fact that he was able to play in the National Football League, and reach a stage that most people in society admire today helps him be able to relay his message and assist young men who strive to be there. In doing this he is helping the youth learn values, about life, and the responsibilities that come with. I am proud of what he has accomplished, and what his life means to my community. I hope I am able to follow in his footsteps and eventually take it to another level.