by Max Brantley
Thanks to TAP for a link to a whale of a story from Yahoo Sports. It's about the first black to play on the University of Arkansas football team. No, not Jon Richardson, but Darrell Brown, a walk-on who never played in a varsity game but paid a big price at practice for trying to integrate Frank Broyles' Hog team in 1965.
I won't try to summarize it all here. But it includes some of the worst of the segregation era, including a gunshot wound; indifference and worse by some towering figures in Arkansas sports history; changing times, and, yes, a happy ending.
Brown is to be honored as a UA trailblazer at this Saturday's Auburn game.
Forty-five years later, he’ll walk out into the middle of Reynolds Razorback Stadium, a place he desperately sought as a player and later a protester.
“They’re even going to escort me onto the field,” he said.
Family and friends will surround him. Old teammates and new fans will cheer. The school plans to present him a trophy. Brown expects to be crying. Again. “No chance he makes it without crying,” Deedee said.
The whole thing still hurts him. This, he says, is important though.
“For the university to finally acknowledge I tried and for a particular reason I didn’t get the opportunity, it’s a major thing,” Brown said.
“All these years later, it’s a major, major thing.”
APOLOGIES: Brain malfunction. I called Darrell Brown by another name in my original post, thinking of a basketball Hog of some renown.