Aside from her tough exterior and strong opinions, Chanita has proven she has a big heart and has continuously touched lives through her charity efforts. Black Voices recently caught up with the reality star to discuss her show, dating athletes and what it's really like to be a football wife.
How did you meet your husband?
I met my husband putting together a Steve Madden tournament; he was one of the invited athletes. We shared jokes about him being from Denver and eventually he asked me, 'Do you want to date me or work for me?' I was focused on work so I said work for him, but he asked me to go on one date, and the rest is history.
So you worked in the industry?
Yes, in sports management.
Had you dated many athletes before your husband?
I have dated athletes in my past. I dated an athlete all through high school and college, and he went on to make it to the pros. The reality is, I was in a profession surrounded by athletes, and although that was the world I was in, I was never moved by the same things females who date athletes are moved by.
So does it bother you when women ask you how to snag a football player?
Yes, that question gets on my nerves because women say it prematurely without knowing what goes along with it. I'm usually left thinking 'Oh girl you sound like a groupie.' How do you make a decision about who you want to love based on a job?
What do you consider a groupie?
A woman who wants a man based solely on his job. There are women who are doctors and lawyers, and are still groupies. Women try and lie and say it's a preference, but what are the thoughts and choices factored in to have that 'preference?' It makes sense for a woman who is some type of athlete to have that preference, maybe because they are looking for someone who can relate to their own athletic lifestyle. But women who never dribbled a ball in their life and want to date someone just because they are an athlete, that's a groupie.
What made you do this reality show?
I've noticed people are mad at the the people they married. The reason for me doing this show is to show black love. We don't have the Huxtables anymore, and they only show reruns of 'Run's House.' Where's the black family? I have a positive black family; two people in a house that both have jobs and love their children and love each other.
What do you think is the major difference between being a football wife versus a basketball wife?
The payout. Money difference is huge, you can't even put us in the same category. If someone is driving a Bentley in the NFL they are 1 of 4 percent; NBA players have 100 percent guaranteed money. In the NFL, the payout is more incentive based.
What about all the cheating we hear comes with dating an athlete?
A basketball wife has more opportunities to get cheated on than a football wife. The NBA has 84 games a year, that's 42 opportunities [for a basketball player] to do what they want in another city. The NFL has a total of 16 games, and eight of them you leave on Saturday, play, and come back on Sunday. Basketball players can have a game, and then too much time and opportunity to be promiscuous, especially in cities like LA, Miami, and Atlanta where they arrive a week and a half before they have to play.
Personally, how do you handle it?
People think I go to away games to check on my husband, but I go to away games to get away from all those kids and dogs, and enjoy room service. He lands to go to team meetings that can last for up to four hours. By the time meetings are over at 6 or 7 p.m. -- they have curfew at 11 p.m. So you have between 8 to 11 p.m. to be jumpoff dealing with a football player, because at 11 p.m. you can't even get on the floor, wives included. I could be pregnant with a baby hanging out of me and I couldn't get into my husband's room.
What's the hardest thing about being married to football player?
All the injuries. It's such a brutal sport. My husband is hurting right now losing his memory. Lineman get dementia at 45-years-old -- some of the players don't even remember their kids at 50. I've been to more NFL funerals than people I know. I don't care about the money, who does and doesn't like me or the fame, looking at it from the health aspect, it's rough.
What's the best thing about being married to football player?
I married my best friend. Some people think you're not supposed to be good friends with your mate, but I don't agree with that. When you marry someone, you're supposed to marry your best friend, that's what makes your marriage last. You want to be able to grow old with somebody that you can talk to, relate to, and are able to have fun with. Isn't that a best friend?
Is being a wife of an athlete over glamorized?
On the show, people don't want to talk about the things that are real. I may be the girl that can walk into a boardroom and negotiate million dollar deals, but I'm from Detroit. I want to relate to real people, and show where I'm from, [that] you can come from anything and be successful. I love my husband. I wouldn't trade my husband, my kids, or my life for anyone's 50,000 square foot house, their last name, and all the misery that comes with it for nothing in the world. I promise you.
Shirea L. Carroll is a journalist who has written for Essence, VIBE, Washington Post's TheRoot.com, XXL's Juicy, and AOL. Reporting on everything from music and entertainment to celebrity and love, she has interviewed some of today's biggest celebrity names. Find the NJ native on her blog Invite Only, or follow her on Twitter @InviteOnly to find out "who is and isn't invited."