As the San Francisco 49ers take on the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans, Atlanta's Greek community will be divided. 49ers starting quarterback Colin Kaepernick and Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis are both members of Greek organizations that have storied lineage in the city.
Kaepernick, a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, crossed "nupe," Xi Phi Chapter, during his playing days at the University of Nevada. Lewis, who played college football at the University of Miami, but received his bachelors at the University of Maryland University College, recently became an honorary member of Omega Psi Phi on October 12, in the middle of the regular season.
Lewis was inducted into the frat at a private ceremony in Baltimore alongside singer Will Downing and Atlanta Hawks legend Dominique Wilkins.
Atlanta is home to the biggest Greek weekend in the country, with a picnic held every summer that brings together thousands of members of the Prestigious Divine Nine (Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc.) to the city.
The city also hosts one of the most well-known Greek college parties of the year, "Pretty Nasty," which is hosted by the Grand Pi Vipers (Kappas) & Bloody Psi Ques (Omegas) of Morehouse College. Each year, the frats unite for one of the city's largest collegiate events.
The matchup between their brothers on the biggest gridiron stage in the world has members of both fraternities sporting their colors and letters with delight.
Morehouse alum and Decatur native Pharish Slaughter, a member of Kappas, told the Daily World it would be a major achievement to see a frat brother like Kaepernick lead his team to professional football's most coveted title.
"This is a national moment for our fraternity as a whole," Slaughter said. "Not only do I get to enjoy one the greatest days to mankind, but I also get to enjoy it knowing that we're exemplifying our foundational purpose – achievement. Moreover, I get to represent my colors with pride; there's nothing sexier than 'Krimson and Kreme' after we have won a Super Bowl ring."
The men of Omega Psi Phi will be supporting Lewis en mass at their 10th Annual Winter Classic Super Bowl XLVII Party.
"It's great for us as an organization," said Mike Randall, Super Bowl chairman and past president of the Phi Kappa Kappa chapter of Omega Psi Phi. "And it's great for us as African American men because so much is depicted bad about us. So it's great to see the brothers doing well."
Randall said that so far the parties have raised more than $275,000 for the group's scholarship fund.
"With Ray Lewis playing and these other omegas playing, it brings more people to our party and more money to be raised for scholarships," he said.
The College Park Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi will be making noise for their brother on the field as well. The organization is throwing its own Super Bowl party at The Loft at Castleberry Hill. Invitations to the event, known by many as the Kappa Bowl, even feature an image of Kaepernick in his 49ers uniform.
"Well wishes to our frat brother, Colin Kaepernick, Quarterback for the Niners," the group's facebook page said. "Shout out to all the Nupes on both teams, the Superbowl is a major achievement!"
Notable Omegas include Jesse Jackson, Langston Hughes, Michael Jordan, and comedians Bill Cosby and Rickey Smiley. Some famous Kappas are music artists Montell Jordan and Marvin Sapp, Cedric The Entertainer and Bob Johnson, founder of Black Entertainment Television.
Steve McNair, Isaac Brue, Robert Mathis, Corey Mays and Ed "Too Tall" Jones were all Omegas who previously played in the Super Bowl.