Hello again! This week, we continue our celebration of Black History Month with a little bit of football history. Seeing as Superbowl is just about here, we thought that might be a fun theme this week. Now what do you think about that?
You know Urgent Kidz Care is a Black Owned Business, but did you realize it’s also a football owned business? Ha! It is! One of the key players of the game is UKC’s own Josh Mallard. So let’s spread a little black history and a little football history with ya, hopefully you’ll feel it’s touchdown worthy stuff.
Marion Motley: Rushing Through the Line of Discrimination
Let’s take a moment to reflect on a true trailblazer of the gridiron: Marion Motley. You see, Marion wasn’t just a football player; he was a game-changer, both on and off the field.
Born in 1920 in Leesburg, Georgia, Marion Motley faced many hurdles on his journey to greatness. Like many great men of his time, he faced segregation and racism everywhere he went. But that didn’t stop him from pursuing his passion for football with all the gusto of a blitzing linebacker.
In the late 1940s, Marion shattered the color barrier in professional football when he joined the Cleveland Browns of the All-America Football Conference (AAFC). With his powerful running style and lightning speed, he left defenders grasping at air and fans cheering for more. Of course this was right in the middle of World War II, and Motley served his country by serving in the U.S. Navy.
Back in the AAFC after the V-J Day, he won four championships with Cleveland, who were then brought into the NFL fold after the AAFC dissolved. In 1950’s NFL, Motley was the rushing leader on the championship winning Cleveland Browns!
But Marion wasn’t just a star athlete; he was a pioneer for equality. At a time when segregation still stained the fabric of American society, he stood tall as a symbol of progress and perseverance. His presence on the field challenged stereotypes and opened doors for generations of African American athletes to come.
When the name calling didn’t slow his record rushing down, he said of his racist competitors, “they stopped calling us names and started trying to catch up with us.” Unfortunately for almost all of them, they didn’t ever catch up with the magnificence of his stride.
In 1968, right smack dab in the middle of America’s Civil Rights Movement, Marion Motley cemented his legacy when he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. There, he forever enshrined his name among the gridiron greats. Yet, his impact extends far beyond the realm of sports. He inspired change, ignited hope, and showed the world that talent knows no color.
So, as we gather to celebrate the Super Bowl and Black History Month, let’s tip our hats to Marion Motley, a true legend of the game and a beacon of light in the fight for equality. His legacy reminds us that with perseverance, determination, and a powerful push of courage, we can all change the game for the better.
We’ll go ahead and sign off for this week. While you watch the big game this weekend and you enjoy competition at the highest level regardless of skin color, remember it was Georgia’s own Marion Motley who rushed the line and made that happen.