Thursday, March 3, 7pm – Non-Fiction
N. Jeremi Duru
author of Advancing the Ball: Race, Reformation, and the Quest for Equal Coaching Opportunity in the NFL ($24.95 Oxford University Press)
“An incredibly interesting and enlightening read. This book should be required reading for any level of sports enthusiast, as it explains so much about the complex intersection of sport and race. Without knowing this story, you simply cannot understand the evolution of sport over the past 50 years.”–Woodie Dixon, Jr., General Counsel to the Pac-10 Conference and former General Counsel to the Kansas City Chiefs Since the league’s desegregation in 1946, opportunities had grown plentiful for African Americans as players but not as head coaches–the byproduct of the NFL’s old-boy network and lingering stereotypes of blacks’ intellectual inferiority. Although Major League Baseball and the NBA had, over the years, made progress in this regard, the NFL’s head coaches were almost exclusively white up until the mid-1990s. Advancing the Ball chronicles the campaign of former Cleveland Browns offensive lineman John Wooten to right this wrong and undo decades of discriminatory head coach hiring practices–an initiative that finally bore fruit when he joined forces with attorneys Cyrus Mehri and Johnnie Cochran. Featuring an impassioned foreword by Coach Tony Dungy, Advancing the Ball offers an eye-opening, first-hand look at how a few committed individuals initiated a sea change in America’s most popular sport and added an extraordinary new chapter to the civil rights story.
N. Jeremi Duru is Associate Professor of Law at Temple University. He has worked directly with the network of African American coaches in the NFL and brings an insider’s perspective to his larger story about race and sports in contemporary American society.