In John Feinstein’s article ‘Raise the Hammer, Take the Knee,’ he tells the story of a race and a sport that is often overlooked.


In the 1968 season of the American Football League, which began five months after Martin Luther King was assassinated on the porch of a hotel in Memphis and a month before runners-up Tommie Smith and John Carlos heard their powerful voice at the Olympic medal in Mexico City. an unknown player from the well-known football program in Nebraska-Omaha played 11 games in the quarterback for the Denver Broncos, threw 14 passes and ended the vote for the AFL rookie.

Marlin Briscoe did not play quarterback in professional football, although his career continued until 1976, he won two Super Bowl and Miami Dolphins rings and was named Pro Bowl once. In his new book “Raise the Box, Take the Brain,” released Tuesday, author John Feinstein explains that Briscoe found himself no longer a quarterback by appearing at the team headquarters before his second season after training coach Lou Saban organized a quarterback camp. in front of the training camp and did not call Briscoe.

Briscoe arrived and found Saban “in the meeting”. Afterwards, Saban came out with the team coach, two QBs who had been in the previous game and two more just added.

“No one can look me in the eye,” Briscoe told Feinstein. “In those days, there was little that you could do if the teacher made the decision… Then I had no choice but to ask for my release and look for a job. I really thought, because of what I did last year, someone would give me a chance. “
They did, only on the whole recipient. He threw in just nine more passes at his job.

The issue of racism in American sports apparently did not end when Jackie Robinson defeated Major League baseball in 1947 or Chuck Cooper of Duquesne became the first black player to be signed by the NBA in 1950 or Perry Wallace became the first Black varsity basketball player in. Southeastern Conference in Vanderbilt in 1967 or Kevin Warren became the first Black commissioner of the Power 5 college athletics conference when he won the Big Ten in 2020.

There are some who would like to see the conversation end, though it continues to be a very important issue for the game. Although Feinstein has made a number of vendors out of the 44 books he has written, he told Sporting News that five publishers have rejected the idea, one easy to look at the request.

The reason “Raise a Fist, Take a Knee” may not be the best book Feinstein wrote. That is the most important thing.

It is a very big story that took a very long time for our game, it could have filled the pages of AZ encyclopedia. Carrying out such a project would be difficult even without the political issues surrounding it, which culminated in the assassination of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer in May 2020, a tragedy described throughout Feinstein’s writings.

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Feinstein states: “Many of the people I thought I needed to talk to were strangers. “Usually when I start having a book, it usually – maybe a little bit – because I know some of the people involved. And apparently I knew John Thompson, among others, but the problem was making a list of people I wanted to talk to and realizing I couldn’t talk to them all. I could not write the full story… So my first thought was to write about how the world was racist, but as I was making my report I realized that it was like saying tomorrow is Tuesday. We all know that, don’t we?

“So my goal changed and I tried to understand what it was like to be black in 2021 – and even celebrities, even athletes, even coaches had to deal with this.”

Feinstein records his first true encounter with the subject of a sporting event came in October 1975, when he was a student at Duke writing frequent articles on local newspapers, the Durham Herald-Sun. Feinstein was given the task of showing off Duke’s game against the Army, and new player Mike Dunn joined the game as a successor and led the way in a major victory that helped him win. All of Feinstein’s writings were directed to Dunn. But strangely enough after reading the text, the editors added that Dunn was a “new black man” rather than a “new man” as Feinstein wrote. When Feinstein told the story to Doug Williams, the first black man to win the Super Bowl as a starting QB, Williams replied, “Boy, was it useless. In the past, Black quarterback was a big part everywhere, anytime.”

In researching the book, Feinstein spoke at length with Thompson, the first of his rivals to win the NCAA men’s basketball tournament as head coach, before his death in August 2020. Feinstein interviewed reformers like James Harris, the first Black start quarterback. in the NFL, Tony Dungy, the first black coach to win the Super Bowl and Ozzie Newsome, the first black superstar in the NFL, a strong Hall of Fame and won two Super Bowls as a member of the Ravens front office. .

“When I was in 8th grade in 1970, I went to try Pop Warner football,” Newsome told Feinstein. “In the test, he told us to go to whatever team we wanted to try … I started running to the quarterbacks – that was my responsibility. Everyone who stood there was clean. I stopped and thought, ‘There is no way he can let me exercise. ‘ I knew that Marlin Briscoe had played for the Broncos in the AFL a few years earlier.

Feinstein admits in the book that he felt he had a passion for writing, but was inspired by his African-American peers, friends and colleagues. Thompson told Feinstein that he “must” do the book. Kevin Blackistone, who previously worked for Dallas Morning News, Washington Post, ESPN and a professor at the University of Maryland, explained why it would help Feinstein write.

“When I write this book, a lot of people will write like Dark Black in an attempt to create racial issues that don’t exist,” Blackistone said. “Some people will accuse you of being a white man and do the same thing. But it will be different. “

It is not a contradiction in Feinstein’s book that some anecdotes begin to hear repetition. It is a tragic demonstration of how even the most successful and influential American men can be trapped in the same conditions, over and over again, and just change.

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Almost all of the adults Feinstein interviewed were able to share their frequently suspended story on DWB: “driving where Black is.”

That means, until he introduced the Olympic gold medalist swimmer, Cullen Jones, who was questioned by a police officer about walking his beautiful dog near a beautiful residential area.

“It comes to me, as I drive here on the I-95, when I am dragged by a police officer, I get angry and upset because I can get a ticket. But I will not be afraid to die,” said Feinstein. , especially if you are driving a good car, have a fear that goes beyond the idea of ​​going.

“Everyone I talked to – everyone – had only one DWB story.”

The title of the book mentions some of the Carlos / Smith protests of 1968, when the two men raised their fists in the “Black Power” salute against the African American treatment during our recent history from the governor. Alabama, George Wallace, publicly declared, “Prejudice now, discrimination tomorrow, perpetual discrimination.” Smith and Carlos were first expelled from the Olympics; now there is a statue honoring their voice on the San Jose State campus, where the two men studied in college.

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Does that mean that all the issues at hand were resolved? Obviously not. The second part of the title focuses on the performances of 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who knelt at the national anthem before the 2016 NFL game. He initially chose to sit on a bench during music before the show, and was encouraged to kneel by former Marine soldier Nate Boyer, who thought it would be “very polite.”

The following autumn, Kaepernick exited the league and, as it turned out, never found another job in the NFL. President Donald Trump announced at a “conference” in Alabama that groups should expel “every boy” who continues to bow down to music.

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“I was working on a quarterback book in 2017, so I was in the NFL stadium every Sunday,” Feinstein told SN. “Black people bow, white people. Whites complain that they are ruining their football fun. No one interrupted the game in any way, and the game started on time.

“In Baltimore, a week after Trump’s shouts, the players – all players – knelt before the national anthem, then stood up for the national anthem. And they were still mocked.

“On the one hand, we can see some clear paths we have made, but in 2018 Lamar Jackson was told he was getting a lot more.”

At least one believed Jackson, the winner of the Heisman Trophy in Louisville. It became Newsome, one of the few black executives to rise to senior positions in the NFL’s forward office.

Feinstein states: “We have come a long way. “I hope – it will be gone – people look back on how people viewed slavery.”





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