Sean Braswell is OZY’s resident James Franco, minus the talent, movie-star looks and the avalanche of selfies. An unrepentant polymath, Sean has five college degrees from three universities and will tack on “Dr.” or “Esq.” to his name whenever the circumstances warrant, usually in complaint letters to Time Warner Cable.
Ever since he wore his homemade Los Angeles Dodgers uniform to kindergarten (sometimes on consecutive days), Sean wanted to be a baseball player. And he made it as far as the University of Texas at Austin before frequent injuries, and constant mediocrity, ended his playing career. But between the 6am weightlifting sessions, 56-game schedules and interminable bus rides through Oklahoma, Sean managed to complete a liberal arts degree, and today cannot believe there was a time when he spent most of his days wearing tight, white pants on 120-degree Astroturf in front of thousands of people willingly outfitted in burnt orange.
The accomplishment Sean is most proud of, however, came next at the University of Oxford, where he led the British Collegiate American Football League in interceptions. Yes, they play American football in British colleges, and no, the forward pass is not the soccer-loving Brits’ strong suit. By the time he was shown the door at Oxford, Sean, a Rhodes scholar, had played touch football with Bill Clinton, been dumped for the Crown Prince of Bhutan and amassed three degrees, including a doctorate in education policy. If you pour him enough Pimms, he will happily inflict his dissertation thesis on you.
Sean would move onto Harvard next where he’d come away with another degree (in law), crippling student loan debt and an even more crippling fear of being cold-called to recite the facts of a case. After stints in academia and law, Sean landed at OZY, where he writes about history, politics, law, film and sports from his home in Durham, North Carolina. Sean is also the creator and host of the Webby-nominated podcast The Thread as well as the history podcast Flashback. He is also the creator and executive producer of two documentary television series for OZY and PBS, Breaking Big and The Contenders: 16 for ’16.