This is very sad news for the world of American football which learned this Friday of the death of the former star runner of the Cleveland Browns.
Jim Brown, who was one of the greatest American football players in history, in the jersey of the Cleveland Browns, but also an actor and activist, died at the age of 87, his wife Monique announced on Friday. “It is with deep sadness that I announce the death of my husband, Jim Brown. He ped away peacefully (Thursday) evening at our home in Los Angeles,” she wrote on her Instagram account. “To the whole world he was an activist, an actor and a football star. To our family, he was a loving and wonderful husband, father and grandfather. Our hearts are broken…”, she added.
Jim Brown is considered one of the best running backs (runners) of all time, having shone in the NFL but also in the university championship at Syracuse. Selected in the first round of the 1957 draft, he played nine seasons for the Cleveland Browns (1957-65), covering a total of 12,312 yards, with a Super Bowl won in 1964 and three MVP trophies won.
In 1966, he stopped his career at the age of 30, although being at the top, to devote himself to cinema. That year, he was one of Robert Aldrich’s “Dirty Dozen”. He has been an actor in around fifty films and series, notably appearing in Spike Lee (“He Got Game”) and Tim Burton (“Mars Attacks!”), confronting Arnold Schwarzenegger in “Running Man” and playing leading roles in several blaxploitation feature films.
On the activism front, Brown organized the Cleveland Summit in 1967, which brought together twelve leading men from the African-American community, in response to Muhammad Ali’s decision not to participate in the Vietnam War. .
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A “cultural fig”
The participants had supported the boxer, symbolizing the unity of black people during the civil rights movement in America. In 1988, he created the “Amer-I-Can” program, which reached out to inner-city neighborhoods in an attempt to get young gang members back on the right track. “Jim Brown was a talented athlete – one of the most dominant players to ever tread a sports field – but also a cultural figure who helped promote change,” NFL boss Roger Goodell said. “a precursor and a model for athletes who get involved in social initiatives outside of their sport”.
Brown nonetheless had numerous run-ins with the law, often escaping convictions. He was arrested in 1965, for aulting an 18-year-old girl who accused him of forcing her to have sex. In 1968 too, after ping a mannequin over a balcony. In 1985, he was accused of raping a 33-year-old woman, without prosecution. The following year, he was arrested for aulting his fiancée, who ultimately did not press charges.
In 1999, however, Brown was sentenced to three years probation, one year of domestic violence counseling, after he smashed his wife Monique’s car with a shovel. Having failed to comply with the conditions of his sentence, he was sentenced in 2000 to six months in prison, before being released after three months.