I recently got a chance to do an interview with former Harvard Crimson Quarterback Adam Lazarre-White where he was Ivy League Player of the Week, E.C.A.C player of The Week, and The New England Sports Writers’ Player of the Week. He’s a huge sports fanatic and I got the opportunity to pick his brain on a multitude of questions ranging from his playing days in the Ivy League to his thoughts about the NFL’s marijuana policy. You may recognize him from his numerous roles in film and television on television shows like Scandal, his recurring role on Heroes, and the movie Ocean 13. He is in a new movie he just finished filming called M.F.A which explores the tragic epidemic of on campus rape. Check out the interview below.
You were made the Quarterback at Harvard before you guys played Northeastern but before you had only logged time as a running back, what were your feelings like before going into that game?
I was always a QB, recruited as a QB, practiced for 4 years straight as a QB, and I was competing for the starting QB job my senior year, a full year after the great Tom Yohe graduated (RIP). I was disappointed I didn’t start the first game of the season. I started the second game and stayed the starter the rest of the year until I broke my left han at the very end of the year.
My junior year, Tim Perry (who was also a great runner), a year ahead of me, didn’t have a great year. I always thought if he had started at tailback and I was the QB – two good athletes would’ve been in the game at the same time all the time and we would have had a very cool offense with half back pass run options for him and I could throw deep, and run pretty well too. Of course they would’ve been grooming me as a more seasoned, better, more experienced QB for my senior year, if I had that Jr year of playing time. But the coaching staff obviously didn’t feel that way.
I was a back-up QB my sophomore and junior years, who in both seasons, they used as a “3rd down back” on passing downs, coming in for the big bruising fullback as a “receiver out of the backfield” because I was one of the better runners “in space” on the team and I never dropped a pass or fumbled – QB hands.
I almost never took a hand off, occasionally ran option with Tim Perry. I was the leading receiver per catch on the team my junior year, and every pass I caught was a little 5 yard “dump pass” or “outlet pass” – then I ran – and averaged about 19 yards per reception.
But I was never a running back. Never practiced as a running back except 1 day my freshman year in camp when they were “trying things out”. I also spent 1 day as free safety, my sophomore year in camp for example (recruited as a QB and as a linebacker and a safety in highschool – I played “both ways”).
You guys ran an option offense, I ran an article on GMB sports recently about certain players in the NFL not getting passing penalties what do you think about that?
When I played even though I’m not that old the culture around football had not changed yet. The kind of hitting and rough stuff that was allowed in the game, extracurricular stuff, later hits, hits on any parts of the body, there was always a spearing rule where you weren’t supposed to lead with your head and maybe I saw that call once in college and never in high school. Quarterbacks would have never ever been complaining like Cam Newton is because their was always people hitting you just to punish you and get one in.
What are some of the similarities between acting and sports?
Well I think when I first came to acting I was in a class in New York and I did very well very early as an actor, I never was really in a beginner group and went right to an intermediate group. My teachers were very impressed with my relaxation and ability to be myself. A lot of young actors I think struggle with performance anxiety of sorts, like nerves. One of the great things about sports is it’s a training ground to focusing on the job at hand and doing it in front of people under a lot of pressure and there’s no take 2, when they say play ball or blow the whistle it’s time. One of the main similarities is that when the curtain goes up or I’m on stage or the director behind the camera says “action” it’s not that different from when the umpire says “play ball” you’ve been working on it and practicing it’s time to perform. My wife was actually a high level gymnast and I think people that have some of that in their background its a similarity. The script is set and the blocking is set but you have to be alive in the moment to whats happening, same thing in sports.
Have you suffered any injuries playing football? What do you think about the NFL’S refusal to review its marijuana policy?
I was lucky I was very sturdy as an athlete I didn’t really have major injuries I always had small injuries even when I got my knee rolled, like a strained knee ligament, I had a small broken bone in my left hand once. I never had any broken bones. I never had any injuries ever, so I didn’t deal with chronic pain. With that being said in regard to the marijuana policy in the NFL obviously a lot of states are moving towards legalizing marijuana, if it is prescribed by a doctor opposed to vicodin or hydrocodone seems like it would be less addictive, I’m not a scientist. Not that people don’t form a habit but it’s not likely the same level of withdrawal as it would be for alcohol, heroin, or pain pills. The NFL refusing to review its marijuana policy is like any other business, there was an article the other day which said that even though marijuana is legal after this last vote businesses still have the right to say that its a marijuana free environment, they can fire people smoking marijuana. Even though its legal in the state, businesses have the right to have their own policy. I think marijuana is as good a pain med as any other but I don’t run the NFL, if they want people to take hydrocodone or vicodin that’s what they’ll take.
Living in Los Angeles are you rooting for the Rams? How do you think the Rams should hire as their next coach?
I don’t really root for the Rams I’m from New York I root for the Giants or the Jets. Because I was a quarterback I’ve always rooted for great quarterbacks. I like watching great quarterbacks play. So if the Giants weren’t good I’d rather watch Tom Brady or Roethlisberger play than watch a shitty game for my home team, I’m not like that in other sports because in basketball and baseball I’m a diehard Knicks and Yankees fan. In football I always root for the Giants. It’s easy to root for the Giants and the Jets because ones in the AFC and ones in the NFC but if came down to it I root for the Giants. I rooted for the Pittsburgh Steelers when I was a kid in the 70s because my dad was a Steelers fan. I used to love watching Dan Marino play and Jim Kelly play. I think the Rams should get a coach thats a great offensive coordinator and going to develop that quarterback. So I would say someone like Josh Daniels or Kyle Shanahan.
Who do you have in the Super Bowl this year?
I don’t think the Giants get to the Super bowl. I think Seattle is playing incredible. Seattle, Giants, Dallas are all playing pretty good. I think New England is the most dominant team right now. I would’ve given Oakland a lot more respect before they lost last week to KC. I think its going to end up being Seattle and New England, and New England will win the Super Bowl.
You also follow Major League baseball who do you think is the team to watch this season?
You gotta give it to the Cubs. I don’t see any reason why the Cubs shouldn’t be the team to watch their young as hell and their dominant. It’s also good for baseball, it captures everyones imagination. But don’t count out the Yankees they just got Aroldis Chapman and Gary Sanchez at catcher.
Do you think competition in the NBA is less competitive than previous years? What is your favorite era of the NBA?
The way the game is played by the younger players now defense is less emphasized. The game isn’t as physical or complete, its more like scoring competitions especially when the three point shot has become a go to thing as opposed to a rarity, where whole offenses are built around the three point shot. For instance, Golden State is a rare team where it actually works for them because they have those guys but its a lot of teams which are throwing up three points attempts but don’t have the field goal percentage like Golden State. What they should be doing is passing the ball and getting high percentage shots and going to the line. I don’t know enough about it to say if its less competitive than previous years. I don’t like the NBA as much as I have previous years, until you get toward the end of the year because I feel like regular season games are less intense than they used to be and I’m not talking about just the last five years I’m comparing it to when I was a huge fanatical fan in the 80s and 90s. There are some great players like Lebron James, Steph Curry. I don’t think it was cool the league let Durant go to the Warriors, I think it would have been better for the league if he had went to the Boston Celtics bringing some power to the East. I’m a Knicks fan and if the Knicks stay healthy they are gonna be really good.
Do you think Russell Westbrook will average a triple double this season, why or why not?
I love watching Russell Westbrook play almost more than anybody but the odds are against him that’s why not. He’s doing it right now but he has to do it for 55 more games. My guess would be over the course of 55 games that his rebounds go down, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was close and averaged a double double.
Whats your all time favorite sports movie and why?
Rocky because it’s the most inspirational.
Whats next for Adam Lazarre-White?
I did a movie in August called M.F.A which is a really timely independent movie. The movie centers around a woman who was raped on campus, I don’t want to give it away but I play the police lieutenant. Clifton Collins Jr. plays the detective and Francesca Eastwood is the lead she’s Clint Eastwood’s youngest child with Frances Fisher. She is a wonderful actress and Frances Fisher is also a wonderful actress and the Director is a woman named Natalia Leite and I think its going to be a wonderful movie. I just did an episode of a new Netflix show called Glow which will be coming out in 2o17 and I’m also a writer, producer, director, and I’m working on a couple projects I hope that will come to light and I’m always looking for the next acting gig, couple auditions next week, call me next week I may have some more news for you.