Yesterday was skipped so we double up today... First up, #NFLPlayerBlackHistory is Ozzie Simmons. His story is connected in some ways to Jack Trice... but we will get to that in a minute. Let us first talk about Simmons and just how great he was...
Nicknamed the "Ebony Eel" from local sportswriters, it is widely held that he was the best runner in the country during his time as an Iowa Hawkeye. A young man from a suburb of Ft. Worth, Texas, he had been counseled to go to Iowa because of how they treated Black players.
He had not been offered a scholarship but he and his brother followed the advice, got on a train and went to Iowa without an invitation. Showed up to practice and legend has it, after his workout, the coach was so impressed he gave him a scholarship on the spot.
1934, his Hawkeyes would be scheduled to player the Minnesota Gophers, a notoriously all white team. You read about how Jack Trice (link below to that thread) was treated, well Simmons was no different. The Gophers also hospitalized him. Sad sad times.
Not only did they spike him in the stomach with their cleats in the first half of the game like the did Trice, when Simmons fought back into the game in the second half, they did it again (!!!) While Trice never recovered, Simmons would be
back in 1935 (…)
To try to calm both sides of the 1935 rematch (read to try to keep people from dying!) the Governors of Iowa and Minnesota placed a bet on the rematch. They bet a pig. Floyd. (by the way... they created a likeness of the pig that is still shuffled back and forth to this day.
After skipping over that little attempt at murder by Minnesota, you should note that they were not the only team trying to kill him. He basically spent his entire Iowa career running people over and dealing with them trying to kill him as a result. #NFLPlayerBlackHistory
It was 1936 when he finished his college career... and as we discussed, the NFL had stopped allowing Black players in 1933.... (although they still held a integrated all-star game in Chicago every year where the NFL champion would play the All Americans College players)
Simmons would draw tremendous interest bc he was the best player in the country but... no team would sign him. He was relegated to play in another pro league for one season on the Patterson (NJ) Panthers and, after that, went on with life as a bar owners and as a teacher.

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More from @JoeBriggsEsq

21 Feb
Tonight in our #NFLPlayerBlackHistory series, let's talk about a man who likely would have made a team if given the chance, Jack Trice.

A Native of Ohio, Trice chose to go to Ames, IA and follow his high school coach when he was hired by Iowa State as the head coach.
At the time, freshman players could not play varsity sports so Jack was left to terrorize the other frosh teams in the Big 10. No but for real... look at the size comparisons. After a successful first year, Trice was moved to varsity as a sophomore.
In the 2nd game of that varsity season against the Minnesota Gophers, Jack was targeted by the team because of his race. Slurs were hurled and they tried to physically hurt him to get him out of the contest. On one play, a Gopher player stepped on Jack's stomach with his cleats.
Read 5 tweets
21 Feb
So we have gotten a bit away from pro-football players and focused on people paid to coach or play football before the NFL in our #NFLPlayerBlackHistory series. The reason? Because many of these young men had the ability to play pro football but race stopped their opportunity.
There were 13 men that played in the NFL between 1920 and 1933. There are believed to be 4 men who received payments to play football professionally before 1920. There were, however, so many other young Black men that played in the early days of the sport. #NFLPlayerBlackHistory
The purpose was really just to highlight some of the sports early superstars who have all but been forgotten. Barrier breakers. Super heroes. People who we should know well because of the size of their contributions... but we don't. So I continue. #NFLPlayerBlackHistory
Read 7 tweets
20 Feb
Tonight in #NFLPlayerHistory, let’s talk about another guy from Dartmouth in the pre-NFL days that made a great impact on the sport and our country, Matthew Bullock. He was the first Black player at Dartmouth and largely thought of as one of the best players in the country. Image
After his time playing at Dartmouth he would become the coach at Massachusetts Ag College, (later UMass Amherst). Presumably one of the first Black coaches at a white college with his contemporary from last night, William Henry Lewis up the street at Harvard. Image
He would also earn a level degree from Harvard Law in 1907 before heading off to coach football at Morehouse. He later move to Alabama A&M and even later into government, investigating racial discrimination in the US navy and working on the zoning control board in Boston. Image
Read 5 tweets
17 Feb
Its #NFLPlayerBlackHistory time, y'all. Tonight we are going to Rochester to check in on the first Haitian professional football player, Henry McDonald. McDonald played with the Rochester Jeffersons from 1911 -1917. Image
McDonald was born in Port-Au-Prince but was adopted by a importer family in New York after and "agreement" by his biological parents. Reports seem to same the importer was impressed by the young man's aptitude and wit. He would be the first black student in Rochester East High.
He would go on to play for the Oxford Pros. His quickness on the field earned him the nickname "Motorcycle McDonald" as it was claimed he could run a 10.2 in the 100 yard dash. The world record at the time was 10 Flat. He would be pouched by the Rochester Jeffersons.
Read 5 tweets
16 Feb
Tonight, another pro-football player that was Pre-NFL is up for the #NFLPlayerBlackHistory segment. Lets get into Gideon Smith, graduate of the then Hampton Institute who would go on to be the first Black football player at Michigan Ag College (now Michigan State University). Image
Gideon would also spend time as the first Black student at the Ferris Institute, later Ferris University, started by future Michigan Governor, Woodbridge Ferris. The two had a relationship that extended for the rest of his life.
Smith was an outstanding college player and achieved many feats while attending MAC including playing in. Pro football game or two. He would be known as the last Black player on the Canton Bulldogs squad prior to the the formation of the NFL.
Read 4 tweets
26 Sep 20
My son woke up at 3:42 am to ask me an urgent question: “Dad, if cheetahs, leopards, and jaguars all have spots, how can you tell the difference?”

Then walked back out and went to sleep.

I been up since studying because I failed that pop quiz.

It be ya own kids. #DadLife
There are several lengthy articles on the subject. An assist if you ever get hit with the same. #StayWoke

Big Car Differences…
There are also videos for the follow up... “did you know there were black jaguars that look like black panthers?” ()
Read 4 tweets

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