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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

MOVIE REVIEW – Movie shows integration in football

Left to right, Woody Strode, Kenny Washington, Bill Willis and Marion Motley are featured in the documentary Forgotten Four. Photo courtesy EPIX
Left to right, Woody Strode, Kenny Washington, Bill Willis and Marion Motley are featured in the documentary Forgotten Four. Photo courtesy EPIX

By Ashley Wood/south news editor

In Forgotten Four: The Integration of Pro Football, viewers can see the re-emergence of African-American players into America’s football.

The documentary discusses how Kenny Washington, Woody Strode, Marion Motley and Bill Willis broke the National Football League’s color barrier. Other African-Americans had played in the 1920s and early 1930s, but the barrier put in place by Washington Redskins owner George P. Marshall in 1933 stopped them from returning.
The false perception that football had to be a white-only game was given by every football executive and owner then.

The film shows interviews with the children and grandchildren of these instrumental men, and the overwhelming amount of tribulation these men went through will keep viewers engaged.

Left to right, Woody Strode, Kenny Washington, Bill Willis and Marion Motley are featured in the documentary Forgotten Four. Photo courtesy EPIX
Left to right, Woody Strode, Kenny Washington, Bill Willis and Marion Motley are featured in the documentary Forgotten Four. Photo courtesy EPIX

Former Miami Dolphins coach Don Shula describes the torment the men received from opposing teams. He said they would purposely hit them after a dead ball, step on fingers and try to take out their knees as well as call racial slurs.

The color line breaking in 1946 was only the beginning of the color line being broken in other sports as well. Branch Rickey, general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1942-1950, saw Motley and Willis play in games for the Cleveland Browns and said without seeing them he might not have had the confidence to sign Jackie Robinson.

Only 60 minutes long, this film has a lot of information compacted into the time frame, but every bit is clear and concise. The viewer is not left with dull moments of frivolous talk.

In attendance at the local screening was Dallas Cowboy alumnus Timmy Newsome, who said everyone who enjoys football should watch this film to see how it was then compared to now.

Dallas Cowboy alum Preston Pearson, who also attended, said the four forgotten men should be elevated and given the recognition they deserve.

Forgotten Four: The Integration of Pro Football will premiere on the EPIX channel at 7 p.m. Sept. 23.

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