Jim Brown: 'Does My Heart Good' to See Black, White Athletes Work for Equality

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJune 27, 2020

Former Cleveland Browns running back Jim Brown sits on a bench before an NFL football game between the Los Angeles Rams and the Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, in Cleveland. The Rams won 20-13. (AP Photo/David Richard)
David Richard/Associated Press

Hall of Fame fullback Jim Brown said Friday he's happy to see white Americans joining the country's Black community to fight for racial equality.

Brown told the NFL Network's Steve Wyche on Friday that he's watched the protest movement closely over the past month since George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, was killed while in Minneapolis Police custody.

"I think it's fantastic. I think it was needed. The events that occurred were very shocking and it brought a lot of people together," he said. "And when you think of African Americans and you think of Caucasians, to see them work together, to see the young people work together, it does my heart good."

Brown is one of the greatest players in NFL history, winning three Most Valuable Player Awards during his nine-year career with the Cleveland Browns from 1957 through 1965.

The 84-year-old Georgia native has shifted his focus to civil rights in his post-playing days and said he's particularly encouraged by the stance of many young Americans.

"These youngsters know that they count, they're educated and they're determined and they know that this country needs them to be able to step up and take a leadership role," he told Wyche.

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The numbers support Brown's view.

Business Insider teamed with Yubo and StuDocu to poll Generation Z Americans, roughly estimated as those born between the mid-1990s and the early 2010s, about racial equality and the protest movement after the May 25 killing of Floyd.

Nearly 90 percent of respondents said they support the Black Lives Matter movement, and 83 percent said they believed excessive police force is too common in the U.S. In addition, 88 percent agreed they "believe Black Americans are treated differently than others."

Brown told Wyche an interracial fight for equality "cannot lose." He's confident community leaders of all races, including the athletes who've taken part in the protests, are ready to chart a more inclusive path for the future of the country:

"What you have now is some young white people, young white athletes who have gone beyond the whole racial thing. They don't look at themselves as white or they don't look at themselves as privileged; they look at themselves as Americans and that they have an obligation. And they look at the African American situation and they see certain cases that make their stomach turn over. They are out there because they are good human beings and they know if they're out there it's going to be more effective. So what you have is an outstanding group of young people, an era of fantastic young people that are steadily out there taking a chance and bringing about more power to the movement."

Brown, who's been championing civil rights causes for over 50 years, understands the pace of progress isn't always swift, but he's confident the current movement is "gonna bear fruit."

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