It isn’t often that you get to chat with a Cincinnati legend. It’s even rarer when your show attempts to be comedic and features unconventional hosts.
And yet, Wayne Box Miller gave us nearly an hour of his time. His infectious personality came through in his storytelling, boisterous laugh, and solemn advice for self-improvement and repairing relations between members of a diverse Cincinnati population.
Miller, of course, has been the radio voice for the Bengals’ pregame, halftime, and postgame shows for years. He’s developed relationships with players, management, and media personalities through the course of an award-winning career.
But Miller is so much more than that. He is a motivational speaker and activist, who makes every effort to effect love and understanding between community members who lack familiarity with one another. He’s also authored a number of books, including From the Soul of a Man and The Power of Love.
You can watch our interview with Miller below:
You can also listen on iTunes or using the player below:
We talked Bengals, of course, beginning with stories about owner Mike Brown. “I like Mike Brown,” Miller said. He continued:
“I love talking to Mike Brown. I’ve run into Mike Brown away from the stadium, and we’ve had conversations about things other than football. And that’s when you really get to know a person. Really quick story. They were doing an exhibit at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, and part of that was an exhibit with sports and African Americans in sports, and there was a name you guys may be familiar with: Bill Willis. One of the first guys that Paul Brown drafted of color in the NFL. And Mike Brown helped to bring that exhibit here and was a fan, obviously, of Bill Willis as a kid. But you see Mike doing those kind of things. He’s not going to bang the drum about it. But he’s that kind of guy, man. He loves the community. We’ve had some conversations about race relations that were very endearing to me about how Mike saw things.”
We then talked about the debate of Penei Sewell vs. Ja’Marr Chase. Miller is high on both players, but seems to prefer Sewell considering that he can help elevate not only Joe Burrow’s game but also that of talented back Joe Mixon.
Lastly, we talked about Miller’s community work. He works with St. Xavier High School daily as the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Miller provided an eloquent, powerful, yet simple message that reveals his years of experience and deep wisdom. “The short answer is really this: it’s just the goal for everybody to respect everybody else,” he said. “Just be kind.”
He then provided a realistic example that will resonate with Bengals fans:
“If I got a black man, a white man, a Hispanic, an Asian, a puppet, and they all went to a Bengals game in a Bengals jersey, everybody would drop their filters and high-five and say ‘Who Dey!’ because we were intentional about getting along, because we come together to root against the Steelers, the Browns, and the Ravens. We just do it. We don’t think about it. But when we’re out in our natural habitat, we all tend to look at someone, ‘Oh, I don’t trust him.’ Or, ‘I heard about them.’ Or, ‘Look at him.’ And we start putting all these filters and barriers in the way of simply allowing us to hate versus love instead of just saying, ‘How you doing? Good morning. How are you?’ And we go to a football game, boy you see that striped jersey and a ‘Who Dey’ cap, and we’re playing the Steelers, and people can come from all walks of life and all we do is high-five and ‘Who Dey’. Man, if we could just treat life like that, we’d all be getting along a lot better, don’t you think?”
That’s some powerful stuff that really puts in perspective the value a hometown team provides to a community. It also provides a framework for diversity issues in general.