Ohio State Football Forum

Ohio State Football Forum

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Remembering Paul Brown and Bill Willis

+15 HS
Sonof'47alum's picture
January 31, 2019 at 9:43pm

On this 100th birthday of Jackie Robinson, when Branch Rickey and Robinson are justifiably remembered for the impact they had on Major League Baseball in particular and society in general, I think it’s appropriate to salute Paul Brown and Bill Willis, who helped integrate pro football a year earlier than the time Jackie first played for the Dodgers.

NFL teams hadn’t had a black player since the early 1930s when Brown (in the AAFC) and an NFL coach decided to include black players on their respective rosters in 1946.  Brown, of course, had previously coached Willis at Ohio State.

These two men were indeed pioneers too and they are also indeed an important part of Buckeye football history.

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