Danny and Mark Bradley pen book on family life
BY JOHN E. HOOVER World Sports Writer
Saturday, February 25, 2012
2/25/12 at 6:02 AM
Just days before the biggest football game of his life, Danny Bradley got the biggest news of his life.
He had a nearly 3-year-old son back in Pine Bluff, Ark., by the name of Mark.
"From that point on," said Mark Bradley, "his life would never be the same."
Danny Bradley had a lot more than football on his mind that night in the Orange Bowl as the Oklahoma Sooners lost to Washington. He went 6-of-21 passing and threw an interception, but he still ran for a touchdown and passed for a touchdown.
Mark Bradley has written a book with his father that relives Danny Bradley's decision to sacrifice his career and his marriage to raise his son.
"1nsepara6le" (pronounced "inseparable") is a father-son story that delivers heavy emotion and family drama on a personal level, a tribute to a man who walked away from everything to do the right thing - "to be a father to a kid he didn't know," Mark said.
The Bradleys are scheduled to attend a book signing Saturday from 2-4 p.m. at the OU-Tulsa Schusterman Center, 4502 E. 41st St.
Three film companies are "talking about bringing the story to the big screen," said publicist Scott West.
Danny Bradley went to OU from Pine Bluff and became a wishbone quarterback under Barry Switzer from 1981-84. Mark Bradley was a Sooner wide receiver from 2003-04 after transferring from Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
Danny played one season with the Detroit Lions in 1987. Mark played five seasons with the Chicago Bears and Kansas City Chiefs. But "1nsepara6le" isn't a book about football.
"The book is a great love story," Mark Bradley said this week during a promotional stop - his first time in Tulsa, he said. "It's full of drama. It's full of innuendoes. You see how a man was able to respond to his whole world being turned upside down and his son not really wanting to be a part of his life."
Mark's mother called Danny just days before the '84-85 Orange Bowl, but he didn't become involved in his son's life until two years later, when 5-year-old Mark had injured himself in a Fourth of July firearms accident. A blood test was performed, and Danny's paternity was official.
Mark's mom and Pine Bluff family spread the word around town about what a deadbeat dad Danny was, but when Danny tried to become involved, they kept him away from Mark.
Mark soon bought into the vitriol about his father.
"I led the charge at some point to try to distance myself from my father because I was entrenched in the environment I grew up in," Mark said.
Eventually, Danny helped bring Mark to OU, where he learned the truth.
"Once I got in the care of my father, that's when I started to receive the love that he had been giving out since he had known me to be his son at 5," Mark said. "That's when things kind of started to turn around instantly."
But Mark getting close to his father drove a wedge between him and his mother.
"Once I got (to OU), my family kind of deserted me," he said. "I didn't hear from them, and when I did hear from them, it was still the jealousy, the envy, the strife that they always brought to the table."
Danny then helped Mark repair the fractured relationship with his mother. In 2007, when Mark was 25 years old, they sat down for the first time as a family.
"She did a wonderful job just sharing how the things she told me as a kid was a lie, how she was just jealous of my father, how she wanted to be involved in his life," Mark said. "She thanked my dad for being a stand-up guy, a character man, and for showing us a better way to parent. She did a phenomenal job with that, and from that point on, we're starting to build that relationship that we never had."
Mark wants the book to help fathers understand their importance in the family structure. But he hears most from single mothers. "1nsepara6le" can show how to avoid using kids for leverage and paints the mother in a villain role.
"That's a tough pill to swallow for women," Mark said. "I'm just excited about how the story is impacting people."
Danny became the first African-American front-office executive of the Dallas Cowboys and now is a certified NFL agent. Mark is considering an NFL comeback after two years off to develop the book project.
There's even talk about writing a book about Danny's own difficult childhood.
"His book," Mark said, "will probably be 10 times more powerful than '1nsepara6le.' "
Bradley book signing
2-4 p.m. Saturday
OU-Tulsa Schusterman Center, 4502 E. 41st St.
Original Print Headline: Bradleys pen book on family life
John E. Hoover 918-581-8384