>> Embodies the daunting challenges of diversity and the unflinching will to triumph America has witnessed a volatile evolution of racial dynamics, and football has always reflected those changes Tonight, the NAACP presents Fritz Pollard, a forgotten man, the story of a man who refused to be defined by his time, but instead forced the national football league and the largest society to accommodate the fullness of his potential This is the story of a man who inspired 100 years of black achievement in football and beyond Following the film, please join us for a discussion from a firsthand perspective, a black perspective >> So, my name is Nate Burleson For 11 years, I lived the dream by playing in the national football league Now I spend the better part of my days living a different dream Over the course of 38 years, I’ve lived my best life That’s been my journey so far Part of my journey moving forward is understanding my past As the nfl celebrates the 100th anniversary and looking back at the start of the nfl, one face jumped out, a black face, a face not too different from mine, this is my journey to set a light on the life of Fritz Pollard, to come to grips on why many this man was forgotten, and to show the world who this man really was >> He was a revolutionary >> Phenomenal running back >> American history was at that point in time, it was unthinkable, unfathomable that he was doing what he was doing >> Not known by so many individuals in America today But one of the greatest running backs that ever lived >> My journey of discovery will take me across our great country No better place to start than our nation’s capital and one of the newest and most important museums >> What’s up, Nate Burleson >> Welcome to the Smithsonian of African-American history and culture >> That’s what I’m talking about

Let’s learn about Fritz This is the 100-year celebration of the nfl Right there, 1920 world champs, Akron, professionals That picture, it says so much There’s one guy that stands out The one African-American man, that’s Fritz Pollard You be an historian of the game, of African-American history, what can you tell us about Fritz Pollard and his impact on the national football league >> I think Fritz Pollard doesn’t get the credit he deserves as one of the early pioneer, one of the people during the nineteen teens and 1920s faced tremendous adversity to be on the field It’s like no other athlete we’ve seen before And his talents were so undeniable that we had to recognize them And he was so exceptional that they couldn’t thee nigh him the opportunity to compete after the highest levels Like many, he made a way out of no way That spirit is important to remember >> What I Roffe about — what I love about this museum and this specific exhibit, is that as an African-American, professional athlete, ( I can look at men who did it before me If you learn about our history, you don’t have to be slave to the system that is sports You don’t have to be just a guy on the field scoring touchdowns, you can be so much more than that >> I want people to come to the sports gallery to realize that sports matter far beyond the playing field That sports are an entry point to larger political, social and cultural conversations We want people to come to the museum to realize it’s not a sub Seth of history, it’s American history We want people to see how central the black experience is to our national story >> My father came from Oklahoma There, going to school and working in a barbershop, he met my mother who was born in Oklahoma And they were married in Oklahoma And they left Oklahoma and they moved up to a place called Rogers Park, which is in the way in the north side of Chicago >> In 1920, the nfl was founded and college football was keen The new league started out including a slight but athletic young man Fritz Pollard’s town taken from the windy city to one of America’s most prestigious institutions of higher learning, Brown University >> First of all, they got to Brown late, because they were still wrestling well JIBLT issues and admissions issues If it weren’t bad enough that he were black, he had to join the team already practicing The teammates basically shunned him, moving him in and out of the shower room and so forth But on Wednesday, he had a practice of what they called bloody Wednesday scrimmages Those were scrimmages in which the subs were trying to displace the varsity for starting positions So, Pollard would get in the game The quarterback gave him the ball He went around the end Made a zig in, cutout side Went for a score The end was a guy named BUTNER who started to use the N word He said send that little so and so around here again Same place, quarterback, sent him around the end Different fake this time Same result After the third time, BUTNER went to coach Robinson and said, I think we better let him join the team They had never seen a black player before So, the road certainly was not easy for him, I mean, it was very, very difficult, but he gradually won him over And when he started to shine, and make great plays and be a game changer, he was accepted on the team It was as simple as that He had to earn his way on the team >> America is a great country, not always a country for everybody >> Racism was a disease that aFLIKTDed the whole country While no places were immune, there were colleges that did

accept African-Americans >> If you were African-American at ivy league school, you were a leg up on the African-Americans in the ACC — oh, wait, because there were none, or the SEC, oh, wait, there were none The old southwest conference, oh, wait, there were none So you basically had African-Americans going to school and being able to compete and, what, three conferences? I guess — you clearly had the ivy league, you had the big ten, you had the PAC 8, the ivy league probably had as many who had prominent roles as any of those leagues >> As we sit on the steps of Brown, one question keeps popping in my head, how does a young black kid in Chicago in 1915 end up here in Brown University >> He bounced around His older brother was at Dartmouth He played football at Dartmouth From what I understand, Leslie was a better ball player than my grandfather >> What? >> Yes That’s what I heard So I grew up hearing that And he taught my grandfather how to play First he went to Dartmouth because that’s where Leslie was And he wanted to be with Leslie And Leslie said, no, this isn’t the school for you He came down here, finally, and he came to Brown The football players gave him a hard time at first They gave him the last uniform they had, which was all torn up and everything had holes in it That night, my grandfather stitched everything up, patched all of the holes and >> And he was the only black guy on the team? >> Only black guy Can you imagine being thrust in the area where basically you’re the only one It’s shocking His personality was so bubbling that basically he won people over He dug in He wanted to prove to everybody no matter what color your skin is, you’re an equal, everybody should be given a chance >> Fritz made the most of his time at Brown, being the first at the only rose bowl, being the first to play in the grand daddy of them all In the following season, he was better >> 1916 team was Brown’s best team to date in history They had six shutouts in nine games We’ve never beaten Harvard They blew Harvard out of Harvard stadium, 21-0, Fritz had an amazing game They called him the human torpedo He ran low to the ground He had a dodge step that would put people on the ground grasping at air >> 148 yards and two touchdowns in the Harvard win, coupled with 144 yards and the touchdown and the win over Yale, two teams Brown had never beaten the same season, led to Frisbie becoming the first African-American back to be named to Walter can’t’s all American team and cemented his place as a Brown legend >> Dr. Mackey? How are you doing, Pete Burleson >> Class of ’59 >> I hear you’re the one to come to if I want to know about Fritz Pollard >> I know more, that’s true >> Let’s do this >> Let’s take a walk >> What can you tell me about the man known as the human torpedo? >> Well, he was an outstanding — an outstanding football player But more importantly, in my view, he was an outstanding human being That counts for a lot He devoted his life to helping minorities And he was a very, very loyal Brown alumn He stayed close to Brown all his life And helped kids come to Brown >> What have you learned about the time here as an athlete on campus in 1915 >> Changed the portions of that team, never beat Harvard Even though — this is an important footnote, he was the hero of the campus, the President stood right down there and said, young Fred Pollard, he’s as good as a white man, which is an unbelievably racially insensitive comment But he didn’t know any better >> At the time, it seemed like a compliment, right? Because of the day and age he was in >> Everybody knew he was better than anybody on that team >> He was terminated by the black bird song Can you explain a little more? >> It’s a derisive song, it haunted him all his life Later, late 80s, frail, sitting there with James Mitcher in being interviewed and Michener leaned over and said, they sang songs about you, didn’t they? And Fritz said, yeah, bye-bye black bird And then he proceeded to go

bump, bump, bump, bump, bah, bah, bah, bye, bye, black bird [Humming] bye-bye black bird >> And the tears started to come down his cheeks And it was clear that as much as he tried to get past that and put it aside, the hurt was still there Years and years later, which is a lesson to everybody, and when I think about Pollard and his legacy, I — my feeling is what he taught us was how to be the best person we can be How to — how to deal with all kinds of — all kinds of crapOLA people threw at him and be positive about life He was a positive life force And he wanted us all to be the best person we could be I didn’t really know him I’ve taken that to heart I think he was a great role model because he really empowered people around him >> The national football league began on September 17, 1920 in Canton, Ohio 14 teams began in the league An interesting thing after the meeting was over, the newspaper coverage, which was — it was modest, it was a new venture, not a lot of hype around it But there were three reasons announced in the newspaper accounts of why these gentlemen founded what became the national football league Those three reasons cited were, to combat players’ high salary demands, to prevent players from jumping from team-to-team, and to protect college eligibility 100 years later, how are we doing? Same issues >> In the mid 20s, after New York came in, after Tim Howard bought the giants’ franchise for $2500, they started the team with 22 teams and ended the season with 12 teams And they were literally dozens of teams in the nfl in the ’30s — in the ’20s and ’30s Talk about the nfl and what kind of a league it was That’s the First thing you need to understand is there were new people, teams, coaches, every year or so, for the first 15 years or so It didn’t stabilize until the mid 30s, late ’30s >> Into a shaky new league came Fritz Pollard In his talent brought instant credibility >> After I finished at Brown, I went to the University of Pennsylvania, I studied dentistry, I went to finish my senior year in dental college And they came to me about playing pro football And they made me a pretty good offer So I finally went out with Akron and began playing pro football >> Fritz Pollard began his pro career with the Akron pros, first in the prenfl year of 1919 Everybody knew of his great ability and he was a draw He was some of the pro football needed to help This is a very young, struggling league In 1919 when he came, it wasn’t a league yet But he played in Akron, stayed in Akron when he joined as charter members of the national football league, and really two players at the time, both in Ohio with marquis drawing names, one was Fritz Pollard, the other Jim Thorpe >> Like Fritz Pollard, Jim Thorpe stood out in the early days He was an American who faced his own discrimination Thorpe and Fritz were marquee names, transcending the color of their skin >> He was hired by Akron’s owner He was signed He backed down in 1919 $1500 a game was a large amount of money to make The only person making that money was Thorpe For my grandfather to be saying the same amount of money for Thorpe, that was putting on him how much he was worth And for Akron to go out the first year and they were the first undefeated championship team in the nfl, they were 8-0-3, the first team they beat, Thorpe’s team, the Canton bulldogs >> I always thought what was amazing about that first team was that that was a very, very thrown together early example of what professional football would be So many of these teams were town teams If you had a base of football in your area, you had a chance to

be a good team The Akron pros, they didn’t care, they didn’t have to be from Akron That’s what made them so good early on He was a big weapon on that team which is why he was probably on the first all-pro team >> Fritz was also the litmus test for the other few, 13 total black players from 1920 to 1933, he was the guy to guide them to what cities they could play in and help them along in terms of what the expectations might be >> You can draw a direct line from the brotherhood Fritz nurtured in 1920 and the one we have in the game today ( >> What’s up, big fella? >> You know, another blessed day I can’t complain about too much, you know? >> We’re here celebrating a great season for you, a great season for the nfl, also celebrating year 100 That got me thinking on the beginning of the nfl I’m learning about Fritz Pollard So I have to ask, what do you know about Fritz Pollard? >> In the league for 13 year, you go through the living legends You say Fritz Pollard, I say Jackie Robinson You put him in, somebody who broke barriers, somebody on the football side Beyond that, when did he play? Somewhere in the 1920s? What exactly happened to him? Why don’t we know more about Fritz? That’s where my knowledge stops >> 1915, he was a young man who went to Brown and was one of the first to accomplish so many different things before he got into the league Have you encountered racism early on in your life or Nevin the league? >> Way later As a west coast kid, you don’t catch those vibes >> Later on? As an adult in the league? >> Absolutely >> Really? >> So right when I first got to the south, you know, the first offseason I was out in Alabama got pulled over, you know, windows are tinted And all right, I got pulled over, windows tinted So you roll down the window He realizes it’s not — whatever, it’s because I’m 6’4″, 285-pound man Get out the car Who’s car is this? Mine? Why does this question need to be asked? >> Do you think now, 2020, the nfl and the sport of football has united us a little bit more? >> As fans, you can compartmentalize that The fans love you at one point because of what you do Doesn’t separate them After you take off your helmet, after they take off the fan jersey, they’re who they are and we’re still who we are >> After we take off our jersey, we’re still black >> When you look at yourself, I know you, you’re a ball player, a businessman, a family man, philanthropist, you do it all Do you think an individual like Fritz Pollard gets the credit he deserves for let’s just call what it is, being — >> Kicking down the door for us? Jackie Robinson was kicking down the doors for us >> >> >> So many years later, we’re trying to find that equality What are you doing not just in football but in the game of life? >> Every day I have off in this season, I’m out in the community, talk the kids about academics, playing sports, being active I’m always in some sort of elementary, always in middle school pushing forward for a positive image, not just about African-Americans or Latinos or Asians, it’s about the combination of what we have It’s like the pay it forward program The more positivity I put out in the world, they see somebody like in me, somebody who is an African-American, somebody who is a dad, somebody’s brother, I’m trying to make them look beyond color So we can all see each other as another person, another person of color, it’s only going to help the next person over >> America in the roaring ’20s was on the rise Jazz filled the streets, cities were booming, sports enjoyed a golden age It was also a country engulfed by racism This is the world Fritz Pollard lived in Life in the nfl was a reflection of the world at large >> 1921, 59 African-Americans were lynch in this country So when you put that in perspective, Jim crow was at the

highest at that particular time To image what he went through in that time, where he had to sleep, where he had to eat, just in terms of travelling around with his football team And in doing all of that, that’s something special >> Playing football, he endured abuse, physical as well as emotional Verbal, from teammates, from opponents On the field, he was abused when tackled, heavily So much so, he developed a method of flipping on his back when he was tackled and cycling his feet like he’s riding a bicycle and flipping up when he’s doing it so if somebody who tries to catch him while he’s down will catch a cleat to the head >> There were reports of him getting hit high and low People trying to break him in half >> When they first met at the first time they played, Thorpe walked up N word, you know who I am? And my grandfather used it right back, and he said, I know who you are, you know who I am? Thorpe put back by that He used the N word again and he said I’m going to kill you My grandfather said, if you are, after the kickoff, I’ll be standing in the end zone and I’ll be waving at you After the game, Thorne came up to my grandfather and said, you’ve got a lot of nerve talking to me like that The derogatory comments, unfairness, all of the things he had to endure, the nfl would not be proud of the way that Fritz had to break down the at a poos and perform And — the taboos and perform So we try to put behind us those things that don’t make the country look good And I think by recognizing the things that happened to him and how he overcame them can be an inspiration, not only to African-Americans, but to people at large >> Despite constant verbal and physical abuse, Fritz was feared as a competitor and respected as a leader This was shown in a move that was revolutionary, not only in professional sports, but in America in general In 1921, he becomes Akron’s head coach >> The way he became head coach really was because they knew that he understood the game He played college — major college baseball He got to Akron, management just felt that, you know, we have an asset here that we need to use He knows the Brown system was effective He understood I want, players liked it This is something that made all of the sense in the world He was a leader And that’s the other thing, I think, that Fritz was undersold on and what a leader he was >> I think it’s almost unheard of to have an African-American man be the head coach of a NFL football team in 1920 For him to be the first African-American coach and be a player at the same time, it shows you the type of temperament he had, the type of character he had The type of intelligence he had to be able to handle something like this that >> He’s always impressed me, borderline stunned me THA that in 1921 when Fritz Pollard was named the player coach of the Akron post he was not totally accepted in Akron as the star of this team It didn’t matter he had been one of the best players in the league in 1920 That didn’t matter And it was so difficult for him at times, even in this position of great authority and as a star of this championship team that he used to have to have security at their games and they made sure that he didn’t come to the games too early because they were worried about an incident I can’t imagine being in charge of a team of men at age 27 never mind faring that something might happen to you because you’re black and the larger society, many of them, do not want you in that position of authority >> You talk about respect having to be earned, every drop of it had to be earned if you’re a black man trying to lead in that point in our country You talk about how daunting that might have been We’re only a few decades after the civil war when the country wasn’t sure it wanted to allow a black soldier to fight for a black soldier

For a coach like Fritz Pollard who did not have physical stature, he was 5’7″, 150, 160 pounds, tops, to come in and command, that was just an extraordinary thing You think of the lack of support resources that Fritz Pollard had in the 1920s, it’s unthinkable >> They did allow me to change the system and brick ng in a system that was better than what they had been playing I wanted the honor of having been the first black coach more than anything else >> A century later, Fritz’s coaching legacy and work live on, thanks to an alliance that bears his name ? >> In the fall of 2002, the late Johnnie Cochran and I put out a report, black coaches in the NFL, superior performance, inferior opportunities That triggered this whole movement and brought all of this national attention on this issue and had a deep study with statistics and showed that the black coaches were winning more often, the few that had the opportunities Went to playoffs twice as often We challenged the national football league to do better when it came to hiring coaches, general manager, scouts, all of the organizations >> There are plenty of men and women that have been an intricate part for the advancement of colored people? >> Right >> Why name the alliance in Fritz’s honor? >> I happened to read a little about Fritz Pollard A sensational player in the 1920s I was like, why not reclaim the history I had a meeting at the combine I thought we’d get ten to show up They came by the dozens It was standing room only We barely had enough room These are the minority coaches, the scouts, they all wanted to hear about this movement and be part of it And John Wooten, the all-pro lineman with the Cleveland browns and best friend of Jim Brown was kind of the spiritual leader And I pointed out, for this movement to last, it needs an affinity group of minority coaches, scouts, and so forth When I said that, the first reaction was heads are going to love Terry ROBISKY to his credit stood up and said, if heads are going to roll, let my head roll And then Ted CATTRELL stood up, the defense coordinator If heads are going to roll, let me head roll One by one, everybody stood up and said we’ve got to get behind this Coach Dungee said, Cyrus has a plan, let’s get behind it Once that happened, the concept was formed >> Do you believe that we have made the proper steps in the NFL to give coaches of color the right opportunity? >> 100 years after this vitriolic racism, the country has not fully recovered and we still have a bias and systemic in our society on racial grounds And that’s something I’ve been fighting my whole career Just to give people an equal chance and give people an equal playing field There was one organization that shows leadership when Johnnie and I challenged them, it was the national football league They took it as, hey, you know what? We can turn it to an opportunity and we can do better We’ve been at the table, the Fritz Pollard alliance every since What did we achieve? First of all, we got them to agree to our proposal which was to interview one minority candidate for every head coach vacancy We got it extended to general managers, we got them to enforce it when the first time there was a violation about it We have made strides Have there been bumps in the road? Yes So we have a lot of oh work to do We could not have picked a better name sake >> We worked with the Fritz Pollard alliance now for years They have been a great voice of wisdom, of checks and balances, because they’re an independent organization We worked together We find solutions and we find a better way to do things And ultimately, our objective is the same, and we have aligned interests, which is to bring the best possible people into the national football league >> The Fritz Pollard alliance is moving the conversation to the 21st century But progress isn’t easy And it barely moves in a straight line After Fritz made NFL history, the league took a huge step backwards, playing 1934 to 1946

without any black players >> You get to the late ’20s, you see a segregated attitude, riots in the Earl aye 20s, race riots matching what happen in the mid ’60s in America It was a societal change that led to a change in the NFL Plus there were new owners with different attitudes >> In that period, there was a so-called gentleman’s agreement among NFL owners they would not hire or employ black players in that period That’s when the game suffered >> Most of the owners were going to be in lock step They were going to look back and say there was no ban on colored, Negro, black African-American participation But, of course there was And George Preston Marshall, the owner of the Redskins, he held the line as long as any owner in professional sports He held the line until the early 19 0s playing in a you will integrate this team and you will be thrown out of the stadium You won’t be able to use this stadium funded publicly And George Preston Marshall, whose own fight song included the words fight for all dixie changed to now fight for old DC, changed sometime probably not until the late ’60s and ‘ 70s, fight for old DC was fight for old dixie, fight for the south >> Wac in those years, let’s face it, the country was deeply divided in terms of race The mindset back then, a hell of a lot different than it is now, basically And there are people who just made it happen It never should have happened It was the tenor of the times >> The times were unkind to Fritz Pollard In 1926, he would never play or coach in the nfl again And the league would not see another African-American head coach until 1989 >> Hey! >> Hey, what’s up? >> What are you doing? >> Great, how are you doing? >> Look at you, man Appreciate the hospitality >> Come on in here, man >> It feels like a museum down here >> A lot of history here >> This is what a legacy looks like >> Early on in my career, we had a preseason game at the hall of fame So, we’re going through the hall There’s a little machine on the side I looked at it, and punched a button Just this black guy Never seen a black football player from way back before I had to find out who this was I read it And it was Fritz Pollard And I kept punching the button I must have done it 25 times make it go back and go over it again And then I would call my teammates, guys, come over here Take a look at this This guy played back in 1920 Can you believe that? 1920 We never knew that >> Why did you find it important to set the record straight when people kept asking about being the first black head coach >> Because he was the first >> I can imagine disrespect Who are you? You’re going to coach me? You’re going to play with us? That’s not going to happen And he probably responded, we shall see He went about doing this work Hopefully he was capable of playing Showing them he was also capable of leading them as a coach So he made his presence felt >> What issues did you face as the second black head coach in the nfl? >> When I got the job, I felt I would get some pushback around the country This country I felt had evolved at that time where they could accept me The first game we played, on Monday night football >> History will be made tonight the first time we had the black head coach in the national football league There he is, art S hell >> Al Davis was a cunning man He made the decision to hire me before a Monday night football game Just think about that He made that change because he knew that nationally, everyone would be watching >> Art S hellhas won in his raider debut >> He is no longer the first black coach in the nfl He’s just a winning coach right now >> So, they won the game Mail started to come in I only got five bad letters And one of them said — we made history that night also, Charlie Greer, first official black

referee He was the official of that game And after that, I got a letter saying you and your NIGGER referee cheated and won the game So every time I see Johnnie, I say, Johnnie, you know you’re my NIGGER referee, don’t you? And that’s historic That’s the only bad letter that I remember get any bad pushback that I got back — the country had evolved and they were ready for it >> It’s 2020 What did you see happened in the league since then? >> And Tony Dungee and, you know, Rey Rhodes So, we’re making progress, which is great Ownership, take a look Everybody takes a look at the owner, but take a hard look at the general managers Because those are the guys that decide who goes in front of that ownership And my mind, the general managers haven’t done a good job of that Of giving guys the opportunity to sit down and talk to ownership >> I get frustrated and watch it >> With the league being majority African-American >> Something wrong with that It has to be corrected You sit down and write down the teams that have never hired a black coach Some will never do it As long as the ownership is in place And look at the ones that have done it Taking a chance Al Davis didn’t give a damn whether I was black You know what he said when he hired me? He said, I’m not hiring you because you’re black, I’m hiring you because you’re a raider And I know you And I know what you’re capable of doing That’s why he hired me Not because I’m black I just happen to be black I love Al Davis to death >> If you could say something to Fritz Pollard right now, what would you say to him? >> Fritz? The fight continues We got to keep moving forward, you set the example, you made a difference You made a difference for me, you made a difference for some others Now we have to make sure we continue to fight >> Appreciate you joining me Thank you so much This has been a journey for me to learn more about the by againing era of the nfl and more about Fritz Pollard Walk us through the Rooney rule and how it came to be >> It came to be really a conversation was started, you know, in early 2000s, and it really was about the fact that there were very few minorities being given opportunities to go to the league And an attorney named Cyrus Mary and Johnnie Cochran started to talk to commissioner Tagliabue and said, you know, what’s going on here This is not right That was the father of the committee And it requires each team has a head coach opening interview at one candidate for one open position And it’s evolved somewhat from there So that was the beginning >> It seems that the nfl was somewhat ahead of the game, and when it comes to having a black head coach Then that changed and it went away >> My grandfather had an African-American player on the first team in 1933 And I think in 1934, there weren’t any African-American players until the late 40s >> Speaking of your grandfather, did he ever express any regrets over not being able to do more to reintegrate the league sooner? >> He had an African-American player on the first team And I think if it was up to him, that wouldn’t have changed You know? He — he was a big supporter of the — of the Negro league teams playing around here in Pittsburgh In baseball If it was up to him, I think it

would have opinion different He had regrets about it >> Evolution of the rule where do you see it going? >> Working hard on a lot of aspects of it Number one, making sure that the opportunities are occurring at the lower levels of coaching so that people can rise up through the ranks and be prepared once an opening occurs I think a lot of people are committed to it So I think we’re making progress with more work to be done >> Fritz never saw that progress He rang a talent agency, a music film production company and also published a newspaper >> After the nfl, Fritz became a relatively successful businessman Fritz Pollard was an individual who was ready to evolve When one door was closed to him, he opened another And he did that throughout the rest of his professional career >> In 1946, after a 12-year drought, African-Americans were turned to professional football And in 1962, when George Preston Marshall traded for future hall of famer Bobby Mitchell, pro football was completely reintegrated Within two decades of reintegration, many of the biggest stars were black That legacy continues on to this day It can all be traced back to one man, Fritz Pollard Because I was black that somebody was going to come out and tear me to pieces And I just eliminated that thing from my mind The players who played in my day were rough They couldn’t tell what was going to happen in the early days I had a lot of fun playing pro football >> Fritz Pollard’s induction to the hall of fame is significant Because, as we all know, there were few African-American athletes in the league until after World War II So his performance showed society that merit was what mattered The color of the skin did not matter Couraged mattered Having a vision of what society could be instead of what it was is what mattered >> Coach, how are you doing? >> Doing good, Nate >> Appreciate you coming >> This is an unbelievable — unbelievable memories in here >> It really is >> During this process, I’ve learned that Fritz was so much more than just a football player or coach Did it have an impact on you uh? >> How did it feel to be the first African-American coach? No, no, No. 2 Fritz Pollard set the standards years before >> I can’t say that I modelled myself after him because I didn’t know that much about him until I did the research I was proud to be associated with Fritz Pollard and be the second because he did set the standards so high I came in as a head coach, ten assistant coaches, 28 teams, ten teams had one African-American coach, 18 had zero I went to Pittsburgh, no African-American coaches on the staff It wasn’t even something that you thought about at the time But, then when I became the head coach of the bucks, I said, it can’t be that way I’ve got to make sure that these guys get an opportunity And I got a lot of criticism These coaches hasn’t coached in the nfl, how are they going to be? They showed what they can do, they won Super Bowls It was a good feeling >> How do you feel where the league is right now and the representation of people of color >> We see it hit peaks and valleys, getting the opportunity is the most important thing I played for chuck Noel He said, I want you to be on my staff He did that because he believed I was going to be a good coach And I felt like I had a responsibility to him to prove him right I knew when I became a head coach, there were a lot of Tony Dungees out there that needed the first opportunity

So hiring Lovie Smith and Mike Tomlin, I knew there were head coaches that were going to help us win, but I also felt like I needed to do something to help people understand that we need to get the league utilizing all of our resources, not just part of it We’re going to be the best league we can be We’ve got to use everyone And I think that’s what we’ve got to do >> I was told when the lights go off, these talk to each other You’re facing Fritz Pollard When the lights go off, what is Tony Dungee saying to Fritz Pollard >> I think he’s whispering, well done, well done, and thank you for setting the bar Thank you for being the leader and we’re all following you >> Fritz paid the way against all odds >> Any African-American and executive look back to what Fritz Pollard is doing Surely if Fritz Pollard can make his way in the game during those perilous times for black folk, then I can do it >> He was one of the greatest pioneers that ever lived and had the ability to move things forward He was a hero and he’s not a hero just because, he’s a hero to — he’s a hero not just to black people, but he’s a hero to Americans and to the world >> What he stood for was excellent at its highest He was the first black player at Brown university at the ivy league school He was the first American head coach, the first black player in the national football league, he was the first black quarterback in spite of the difficulties back in that period He was able to achieve at a high level He served his country He was a successful businessman, off of the field, away from football That reason demonstrated to me that if you put your mind to it in spite of the obstacles that you may face, that you can achieve excellence And that, to me, is the legacy of Fritz Pollard >> Fritz Pollard may not be the legacy he deserves to be, but he’s the man past present and in the history of the game Everywhere we look, to where with we still need to go, you’ll see Fritz And this journey has taught me that he’s anything but forgotten

>> I serve as the senior Vice President for marketing and communications for the NAACP Thank you to everyone who was in the virtual screening, Fritz Pollard, a forgotten man Tonight, our special guests will be discussing the role of sports

in addressing systemic racism Join us tomorrow night with John Baptiste and others If you want to stay involved with the work of the NAACP, please dial star 8 or go to NAACP.org to volunteer If you’re watching on social media, YouTube, Facebook, twitter, you can leave us a message at NAACP With that, I’d like to turn it over to NAACP President and CEO, derrick Johnson, President Johnson, the floor is yours >> Thank you, ABA I want to thank our guests this evening as well as all of you who have tune in or dialed in NAACP, we’re 111 years old, with the mission of advocacy around social justice In this time of racial pandemic and health pandemic, we find it so much more valuable to have this discussion For many years, athletes and entertainers have lived their platform for social justice Understanding social justice for us is about making democracy work You can only make it work if all individuals are under the law The NAACP for African-Americans is more important for us to take a moment to pause, celebrate a legacy of someone like Fritz Pollard, but also be driven by some of the examples that he exemplified We at the NAACP, proud to partner with many of our participants this evening and look for a productive conversation At this time, now I would like to introduce our moderator for the evening, Mike hill >> Right now, the NFL among a lot of the larger leagues have a problem with race today, keeping it real Actors and entertainment and media should use their platform for the betterment of society and we’re trying to make society as a nation as a whole better We have great panelists, looking forward to talking to them One of the things I said on the NAACP is I want to keep it real, raw, and honest So we have panelists that are going to do just that tonight So, without further ado, let me introduce them first Someone I’m proud of, Maria Taylor An espn host and reporter He’s a member of the player’s coalition Pro football hall of famer, Aeneas Williams, bill Rhoden, and the head of the NFL-PA, DeMario Smith How are you doing today? >> How are you doing? >> Fantastic >> Great >> Looking forward to this You wrote a book about highly paid athletes with no true power when it’s perceived by the general managers and whatnot In your opinion, how much have things changed? >> Hey, everybody, it’s great to be with each of you The power dynamic is it’s not changed much You have DeMario in this conversation I think you do see a lot of athletes, you know, black men and women really trying to flex their muscles And I think they are realizing, No. 1, that it’s about complective action It’s about doing things not with one or two or three I think the power dynamic has not changed much I think what’s changing is more black athletes understanding

that they are the game, they and they can move mountains >> Do you know how much power you have? Are you seeing that more? >> I think it’s a bit of a changing of the guard, you know? Brother Rhoden, when I was in New York, he was one of the first people I looked up We’ve had an ongoing relationship since then When I was in high school, my mom got me his book, $40 million slave, and it started to unlock something with a key That I felt was hidden with most of my peers I could see how foreign it was But, what you have seen as miraculous as it is, people are doing something with their platform I think social media played a big part in doing that It wasn’t just understanding your power and how you can work, but with social media, guys started to build platforms outside of their teams And when you realize that you have that much power as an individual, you realize it works even better when you come together And then there’s something going

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