Just watched a documentary on HBO about the integration of Southern college football. Good stuff, interesting materialâ€”and now I must hurl.
Bear Bryant, the legendary Alabama coach who was a God to the state, was praised and praised and praised for … thinking about integrating. That’s what the ol’ Bear did year after year: He thought about it. Other schools recruited blacksâ€”he thought about it. More schools recruited blacksâ€”he thought about it. And thought about it. And thought about it. Finally, in 1970 or ’71, Alabama signed its first black player.
I know times were weird. And difficult. But I’ve now heard over and over what a great and courageous man Bear Bryant was, and I just don’t buy it.
Perhaps Bryant was a superb football coach. But, truth be told, had he been really courageous, he would have been the first to recruit black athletesâ€”not the 50th (or so). He was insanely influential. He could have spoken up years earlier. But he didn’t.
He waited. And waited.
Until it was safe.