Black sports history fact #3

In 1915, “Fritz” Pollard was allowed to play football at Brown University, along with Paul Robeson, who came the same year. These were the two black players to break the color barrier in major college football.

Throughout his career, Pollard was forced to change in closets, wasn’t allowed to take showers, couldn’t travel with the team, was spat on by both home and opposing fans. He also had his hands cleated by opponents and wouldn’t come onto the field until seconds before kickoff.

He started, and he led Brown to the first Rose Bowl. He was also the first black football player named to Walter Camp’s All-America list.

However, as professional football started accepting blacks, the front offices believed that blacks on their team would hurt sales. By 1932, professional football didn’t have black players.






About the author

Founder & Editor-in-Chief. National Association of Black Journalists. University of Central Oklahoma.

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