Michael Strahan on the One Mistake He Made as a Father

Although he said he’s kept many detrimental parenting mistakes at bay over the years, NFL Hall of Famer Michael Strahan said he could recall one hiccup he made when his oldest daughter, Tanita, was a toddler.

“The one mistake I made being a father is when I had my daughter on my shoulders [while sightseeing] when we first moved to New York back in 1993 — I walked under an awning that was too low and, well, that was not good,” he told Footwear News. “She’s brilliant — she’s an artist, she’s smart, she’s 25 years old now. So everything worked out fine.”

Strahan was on hand at the 76th Annual Father of the Year Awards luncheon in New York today to accept the honors alongside co-honoree JCPenney chairman and CEO Marvin Ellison.

Ahead of the ceremony, Footwear News caught up with the two-time Emmy-award winner and Super Bowl champion who said that while he enjoys showing his children how much he cares, he would advise other fathers to not lean on their actions as the only way to communicate affection to their children.

“Be involved; love your kids and don’t be afraid to tell them that you love them,” Strahan said. “The whole thing about ‘you know I love you through my actions’ — well of course they do, but it’s also important to show them through your word.”

Strahan, a father of four, was accompanied at the event by his 12-year-old twin daughters, Isabella and Sophia. His Michael Jr., who is 21 years old, and daughter Tanita were absent due to their work schedules, Strahan noted.

“The best part about being a father is being a father,” he told FN. “That’s you — you have a kid and that is a piece of you, and everything they learn — for the most part — comes from you and the way that you teach them. And just to see them grow and become adults and the conversations — it is the most fulfilling thing that you can ever do in your life. It’s better than any accomplishment you can ever have from work. Being a father is the thing that makes you go home and just be happy to be there.”

Since retiring from the NFL in 2007, Strahan has kept himself busy with a range of television and production projects, as well as a menswear line with JCPenney, launched in fall 2015. He added footwear to the range in fall 2016.

“The hardest part [about being a father] is when [your kids are] young and you’re not able to sleep at all,” Strahan said. “Now my [twins] are getting to that age that the next hard thing for me will be the boy situation. So we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it, but until then, I’ll continue to enjoy every day. I don’t get stressed by my kids. They’re easy, and it’s fun.”

Access exclusive content