Jim Brown, More than a Lacrosse
Front row: Bill Russell, Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown, and Kareem Abdul Jabar. June 4, 1967 press conference given by the top African American athletes of that time in support of Ali’s opposition to the Vietnam War draft.
Growing up playing lacrosse in the 1970s and 1980s, I never saw Jim Brown play. What I knew about him was based on seeing him on myriads of NFL highlight films particularly as Walter Payton came ever closer to breaking Browns all time rushing records and from my Dad. “That Jim Brown is bad!” my dad would often say, impressed by Browns black cool style and black militancy as he destroyed one color barrier and stereo-type in American society after another. Brown refused to accept racist customs and submit to white privilege and my Dad admired Big Jim for that. He like Malcolm X, Bill Russell, Ali, Kareem, and the two brothers, Tommy Smith and John Carlos, who gave the black power salute during the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, Brown would not compromise his views for fear that it would hurt his career and pay check. I met Jim Brown in 1984 when we (Syracuse) played Hobart College the Div III national champions in 83 in Manhasset High School’s Lacrosse Day of Champions on the island, a great event. This coincided with Brown’s induction into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1983. More on this tomorrow.
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