MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Atlanta Falcon’s football icon and unofficial team mascot Carolyn “BirdLady” Freeman is breaking her silence just a few days after the anniversary of her Super Bowl scandal.
Last year Freeman went from adored Falcons super fan to public enemy number one after her plans to take dozens of people to Houston for the Super Bowl fell through. Now, a year later in true BirdLady fashion, she says she’s flying higher than ever before.
“Okay since we last talked lots of things have happened,” she told 41NBC.
For Freeman, Superbowl LI was one she would never forget–and not because her team was in the game, but because of the dozens of fans who felt betrayed.
“I didn’t even post the activities that I did during the Super Bowl because I had death threats,” she said.
It was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime for people who paid to see the Dirty Birds in Houston through BirdLady, but that trip took a terrible turn when the buses to get there never showed.
“I had threats of physical violence to my life. It was really bad,” she went on.
Now, after the scandal that shocked fans and made headlines, BirdLady is opening up.
“I don’t ever want to put myself or anyone else that trusts me in that position. But the wonderful thing about it was the people that did–they know me. There were just a couple of people that weren’t personal friends that caused all this commotion, but the majority of those people have traveled with me before and they weren’t worried,” she explained.
She says 2017 was a year of hard lessons.
“It hurt. It hurt a lot. It hurt because a lot of people who turned on me, I thought were friends,” said Freeman.
It cost her endorsements, friends and more than anything else her reputation.
“I was the official spokesperson of Xfinity, the cover of four magazines, 7 magazine articles. I gave that up because I chose to spend my time getting those 24 people who paid their money to STYI to Texas.”
Looking back now, she says her biggest mistake was not doing her homework on the man she blames for the whole mishap.
“The lesson is that I have to check everybody out. I cannot be so kind and giving and trusting. I should’ve done more research on this guy,” she admitted.
Through that pain and humiliation, she managed to continue pouring into her other passion aside from Falcon’s football–philanthropy.
“During the storm, BirdLady Cares filled three 60 foot trucks and sent supplies down to South Florida, Texas and Puerto Rico. We filled two airplanes going to Puerto Rico.”
Despite the disappointments last year, she wants people to know she’s letting her ‘haters be her motivators’ to giving back.
“I haven’t slowed down, I haven’t stopped and nothing is going to deter me from my mission. I’m here to help people and give back and that’s what I’m going to do–and support my Falcons because we’re going to the Super Bowl next year,” she told 41NBC.
Freeman says she’s made it her quest to continue rising up, helping however she can and staying the same old quirky but caring Carolyn that Falcons fans everywhere fell in love with.