Football has Always Been a Battleground in the Culture War

[ Originally published on this site as post ]

Let the legend tell it, and America didn’t truly integrate until Bear Bryant told it to. In a dominant career, perhaps Bryant’s most prominent feat as a coach was his endeavor to add black players to the University of Alabama Crimson Tide football team—an endeavor that pitted him squarely against the notorious segregationist, Alabama Governor George Wallace. Bama and the vaunted Southeastern Conference to which it belonged were some of the last refuges of Jim Crow in the country, until Bryant scheduled a 1970 game against the integrated University of Southern California. The humiliation of the subsequent loss, as the story goes, would open one of the last closed doors in the South and in the country.

Of course, that version