I wrote the Sportsmanship in Black series back in 2011 out of a sense of duty and a desire to learn more about the African-American men and women who shaped the world of sports as we know it.
Today is the first day of Black History Month in the United States. Here in St. Louis, all the talk has revolved around an impending winter storm. I haven’t seen so much as a Facebook post about Black History.
Sportsmanship contains several principles and responsibility is one of them. I am a black man who writes regularly about sportsmanship and character. I would be shirking my responsibility if I did not take the time to pay homage to those who paved the way for me and so many others.
Over each of the next 28 days, I will profile a prominent black sports figure. This series of posts will not be comprehensive as those featured deserve a lot more writing space than I have here. I hope this series will encourage you to learn more about those profiled and use their experiences to help the young people in your life.
The first Sportsmanship in Black post features Pro Football Hall of Fame tight end, Kellen Winslow. Winslow was born in East St. Louis, Ill. and played college football at the University of Missouri. He was the 13th pick in the first round of the 1979 NFL Draft and spent his entire nine-year career with the San Diego Chargers. Winslow finished his career with 541 receptions and scored 45 touchdowns. He is a four-time All-Pro and a member of the NFL’s 75th Anniversary Team.
What may be even more impressive about Winslow is his commitment to education – namely his own. He did not leave any city in which he played football without a diploma; ultimately earning a law degree from the University of San Diego.
Winslow spends much of his time encouraging young people to pursue their dreams in athletics and academics. Watch the video below from his keynote speech to student-athletes from South Carolina State and Grambling State universities. His words say more about his character than mine ever could.