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Category: Sports Business

JACKIE ROBINSON: FOOTBALL HERO BEFORE BASEBALL STAR

Jackie Robinson was already an inspiration to millions of Black Americans – and had been for eight years – when in 1947 he became the first Black person since 1884 to play Major League Baseball. Because in 1939, Robinson burst upon the national sports scene as one of the best American football players in the country as he and teammates Kenny Washington, Woody Strode and Ray Bartlett established the undefeated 1939 UCLA football squad as the first team in  the history of America’s white-dominated world of commercial spectator sports to be led by as many as four Black players.

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BLACK MEDIA, JACKIE ROBINSON DEFIED NFL COLOR LINE

Long before he made history with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, Jackie Robinson was a nationally-known football player who led the UCLA football team to the school’s first undefeated season in 1939. But 1940 for Robinson and the Bruins was another story. Gone were Kenny Washington and Woody Strode, the Bruin stars who would eventually re-integrate the NFL and who Robinson teamed with in 1939 to elevate the UCLA football program to unprecedented heights. And to make matters worse, UCLA head coach Babe Horrell had failed to make up for those vacancies in recruiting, leaving Robinson on an island.

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