Race Relations in Sports: From 'Brian's Song' to the Present

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Race Relations in Sports from "Brian's Song" to Present Brian's Song is a movie that starred James Caan, as Brian Piccolo, and Billy D. Williams, as Gale Sayers. The movie was primarily about how the two players interacted each other as running backs for the Chicago Bears and how their friendship matured through the difficulties of Brian's cancer diagnosis and eventual death. The movie explores many themes such as friendship, courage and compassion, but it leaves one particular subject somewhat alone. Gale Sayers is black and Brian Piccolo was white and they were roommates on team trips at a time when relationships between these two races could be very volatile. The movie had very little to say about how black and white professional players interacted, but there is some evidence in the movie of the tension that existed and the segregation that still existed. This paper explores this theme of race relations in sports seen through Brian's Song and as it is today. The events portrayed in the movie are from the mid to late 1960's when Brian Piccolo and Gale Sayers were young members of the Chicago Bears football team. Sayers was a highly regarded number one pick in the pro football draft and Piccolo was a team walk-on. Piccolo was on the practice squad for his first and second year with the team, but made the game day roster in his third year. In Piccolo's fifth year, 1969, he became the starting fullback and only other game day running back on the team. That year the team

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