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Thoughts On The 1964 NFL Champion Cleveland Browns

June 22, 2016

Today in Cleveland, a celebration in the form of a parade will take place honoring the 2016 NBA champion, Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Cavs won the first sports title for a Cleveland team since the old Cleveland Browns won the NFL crown on December 27, 1964.

I am not a fan of the current Cavs, but I adored those Browns.

A member of that title team, the late Gene Hickerson, a brilliant offensive lineman, finally put into the NFL Hall of Fame some years back was a white man, at best “not around” black people.

Yet and it was different in 1964, of course a landmark year for long needed civil rights legislation but the sight of Mr. Hickerson being wheeled on the Hall of Fame stage by three great and Hall of Fame running backs, who happen to be black was and is a cherished significant moment for me.

The backs are Jim Brown, Leroy Kelly and Bobby Mitchell, who also played for the Washington Redskins and was the first black player there when he arrived in 1962,.

Hickerson and others blocked, the backs ran, the black players on the team were ahead of their time and at 9 years old, admittedly unaware but to my parents’ credit never one to judge by race, religion nor ethnicity, it was the game, the win and so much better times.

 

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The great offensive guard, Gene Hickerson pictured above.

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