My VIP for this week is legendary Cleveland Browns football player Jim Brown. He retired from football more than fifty years ago when he was thirty years old. At the time he was an all-America and all-pro back. He announced his retirement from professional football on July 14, 1966, at a film studio in London, England. This site gives interesting information about his final season in professional football.
When the 1965 NFL season ended, Jim Brown was the star of the league. He was the 1965 MVP after rushing for 1,544 yards in a 14-game season, which was 677 yards more than the runner-up, a Chicago Bears rookie named Gale Sayers. At that moment, Brown was the sport’s leader in single-season and career rushing yards, rushing touchdowns and total touchdowns. In nine years of pro ball, Brown was the rushing champion eight times and the MVP three times.
But he was bored. So when the season ended, Brown was out in London filming the movie “The Dirty Dozen” [and] trying to stimulate his mind. It was his second acting appearance and because of delays in filming, the days kept creeping closer to when Brown would have to return to prepare for the next NFL season. He realized he had a decision to make. It was July already, and Brown was about to enter the final year of a two-year deal that paid him a little over $60,000 per year. But if he wanted to play the next season and collect his money, he’d have to ditch the film. [He decided to retire when Browns owner Art Modell gave him an ultimatum.]
I am not writing about Jim Brown because of the fact that he was a great football player five decades ago or the fact that he is an actor. I am writing about him because he is a patriotic American with common sense.
Apparently, Jim Brown did not like hearing that “a dozen Cleveland Brown football players knelt during the National Anthem prior to their preseason game against the New York Giants.” He met with the players prior to their next game and urged “them to not ‘disrespect’ their flag and country.” When it was time for the National Anthem, “All Browns players and coaches stood up in respect.” He must have given a powerful talk!
The Browns players and coaches obviously respect Jim Brown. They should because he is a man who deserves respect. He was named “the greatest professional football player of all time” in the 2002 “Sporting News.” He was also “a multiple NFL Most Valuable Player who broke most of his era’s major rushing records and led his team to a Championship in 1964.”
Brown is also a man who “has deep respect for America and its culture,” and he was not afraid to use his influence to teach the younger players and coaches to show respect for the National Anthem. Wouldn’t it be great if all the professionals in sports and movies would stand up for America!