Cleveland Browns great Jim Brown has passed away at the age of 87, and the football world, not to mention the world at large, lost a true giant.
On the gridiron, he was one of the greatest ever and perhaps the greatest running back ever who set a number of records and led the Browns to their last NFL championship in 1964.
He became the standard against which other great running backs were measured, as he retired with 12,312 rushing yards and 106 rushing touchdowns in just 118 games.
But off the field, Brown was also a true pioneer, as he would become an activist who fought for civil rights.
Former president Barack Obama took to Twitter to honor his memory.
I was too young to remember Jim Brown’s playing days, but I knew his legacy. One of the greatest football players ever, he was also an actor and activist – speaking out on civil rights, and pushing other Black athletes to do the same. Our thoughts are with Jim’s wife Monique, his…
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) May 19, 2023
By the time Brown retired from the NFL following the 1965 season, he was becoming a strong voice in the Black community.
In terms of civil rights, he was most remembered for working alongside with legendary boxer Muhammad Ali and NBA greats Bill Russell and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to become activists themselves.
Later on, he started the Amer-I-Can Program, which worked with at-risk kids, particularly those who had been involved in gang activity or had been incarcerated, to help give them a strong foundation for their future.
Brown also became an actor who appeared in numerous films that spanned six different decades, including “The Dirty Dozen,” which was released shortly after he retired from the NFL.
He may have had a somewhat checkered and controversial life off the field, but there is no doubt he left a very positive mark, and not just on the gridiron.