To be clear, this post is not about Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.
Yesterday was a day of tragedy. In addition to the verdict which confirmed that there are still flaws in our justice system, an icon of sports and a very respected human being passed away. That person was Gale Sayers.
The “Kansas Comet” shattered both individual and game records during his career, but more importantly, he shattered racial barriers with his friendship with his teammate, Brian Piccolo. It was unheard of that Black and White players would be roommates at an NFL training camp in the 60’s. Although all teams were integrated by 1965, it had only been three years since “The Washington Football Team” had finally integrated. Gale Sayers and Brian Piccolo truly spoke with their actions, both on and off the field.
When Gale suffered a major knee injury, it was his best friend Brian who encouraged him and challenged him to recover. When Brian Piccolo became gravely ill with cancer, it was Gale who was at his side. His award speech (so eloquently recreated by Billy Dee Williams in the movie) is something that everyone should take time to watch. The love and respect they had for each other far outweighed the color of their skin.
Here we are, 51 years later. Our society still has the same divide, and we’re seeing athletes standing up (or kneeling) for social justice. In his book “I Am Third”, Gale wrote about his life struggles, and his friendship with Brian Piccolo. We are all familiar with the movie “Brian’s Song”….this is a story that everyone should become familiar, as it shows how people of different races and backgrounds can come together. We need this right now more than ever.
Rest In Peace Gayle. Rest In Peace, Brian.
THANK YOU for creating a legacy that will never be forgotten, both on and off the field. 😔❤️🏈