Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Paving the way

Martin Frank from wrote an article that appeared on Saturday about Dick Allen and the role he played in shaping the Philadelphia sports scene. For those of you that know his story and history, there really wasn't any new information or perspective presented -- but it was nice to see some in the mainstream media are still working on putting together the pieces of that period. You can read the entire article here.

My favorite quote from the article is from Dr. James E. Newton, professor emeritus of Black-American Studies at the University of Delaware:

"I think he served as a steppingstone for people in Philadelphia to open their hearts to a black athlete. In [the mid-1960s], he was a sort of pioneer. The '60s were an explosive period in the South. But there was also a strain on large cities like Philadelphia.

I think, in a way, Richie Allen opened the door for guys like Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard. He might have been misunderstood when he was going through the storm and holding his ground, but I think people understand, and accept, the black athlete as an individual now."

In addition to Rollins and Howard, Just off the top of my head, I think it is safe to say that Darryl Dawkins, Ricky Watters, Charles Barkley, Randall Cunningham, Donovan McNabb, Michael Vick, and Allen Iverson should all get on their knees at night and thank Dick Allen for what he did for them.


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