Gridiron Gauntlet: An Ongoing Review Of A Book On The Men Who Integrated Pro Football: Part 1

As a writer, I am sometimes sent books to read and review, if I so choose. Every once in a while a book comes through that I want to read and Andy Piascik's tale of twelve men who integrated Pro Football post World War II, Gridiron Gauntlet is such a book.

In every sport I hold a special place for the players who know about the past and give credit to those who have come before them. I wonder if Chad "Ocho Cinco" Johnson or Terrell Owens know who Bob Mann is? Or, if Michael Vick has ever heard of George Taliaferro? I also wonder if it would make a difference in their lives if they did.

I am not black, but I am sympathetic to the trials and tribulations that African-Americans have endured and am A-Mazed when I consider that it was only 36 years ago that The Washington Redskins allowed black players to join their team.

It is hard for me to believe that a team which has produced three of the greatest black players of my time, Dexter Manley, Art Monk and Darrell Green were the most racist franchise in the NFL. Then again, I was born in the Bay Area in 1972 and have never witnessed segregation. And, they are still called the Redskins.

"One year before Jackie Robinson broke the color line in Major League Baseball in 1947, four black players joined the Cleveland Browns and Los Angeles Rams to become the first professional football players of African American descent in the modern era. While blacks had played on professional teams in the early days of pro football, none had joined a team since 1934.

In Gridiron Gauntlet, twelve players who began their careers from 1946 to 1955 share their stories-reminiscing not only about the violence they faced on and off the field, the segregated hotels and restaurants, and the general hostility that comes with being a trailblazer, but also about white players and coaches who assisted and supported them at various stages of theri lives. Among the oral histories presented here are thoise of such pro football icons as Bobby Watkins, Joe Perry and George Taliaferro."

- From Gridiron Gauntlet - Taylor Trade Publishing 2009

 

I am hoping that by bringing some light to this book, perhaps, some of you will read it and maybe even better, some of our young players in the NFL will read it and really get a feel for those who came before them.

This is the intro in what will be a 13 week review of the book and each player. This book has opened my eyes and I want to research each of the 12 men interviewed here as well as a few who have already passed on.

Here are the names of the twelve men who told their stories, in their own words, for this epic novel.

John Brown, Bob Mann, Joe Perry, Sherman Howard, George Taliaferro, Emerson Cole, Charlie Powell, Eddie Macon, Harold Bradley, Eddie Bell, Henry Ford and Bobby Watkins.

For those of you who wish to follow along you can buy the book online.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Silver And Black Pride

You must be a member of Silver And Black Pride to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Silver And Black Pride. You should read them.

Join Silver And Black Pride

You must be a member of Silver And Black Pride to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Silver And Black Pride. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker