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Jim Brown speech

Jim Brown shares lessons with college athletes:

The NFL and its players union share the blame for failing to take care of those who retire from football damaged by its violent collisions, Hall of Famer Jim Brown said Thursday.

One day after appearing before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee for a hearing on head injuries in football, Brown said in a series of talks at Williams College that the league’s failure to take care of retired players is “a crying shame.”

“The NFL, with the players association, have been an embarrassment, because the legends of the game who have run into hard times, medically and economically, have been deserted,” Brown said. “It’s a crying shame that an organization like the NFL does not take care of their own.”

Brown said he was optimistic that something would come of the hearings, noting that Congress has threatened to repeal the antitrust exemption that allows the league to negotiate lucrative TV contracts. “When you talk about that, you hit a nerve with the NFL,” he said.

Known since he retired at the peak of his career as much for his outspoken views as his football prowess, Brown had even harsher words for the NCAA, calling it “the most ridiculous organization in the country.” Criticizing administrators who live off the money generated by college athletes, he said, “College athletes aren’t amateurs, these guys are the farm teams for the NBA and NFL.”

Link to full article

(h/t Meirabb)

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#1 Comment By David On October 30, 2009 @ 8:18 am

Brown said he hasn’t regretted his decision to leave football even before the peak of his career, noting that he won his third NFL MVP in his final year as the “best cat in the league.”

Maybe things were different back then, but very few running backs do much after they turn 30.

I wonder what the Ephs at the Women’s Collective thought about the College inviting Brown to Williams (and about his probably significant speaking fee). Or maybe they don’t know about Brown’s history.

Jim Brown is on the telephone from Ventura County Jail in California, and the sense of irony does not escape him. Normally when Brown, a Hall of Fame running back, steps into a prison, he is counseling inmates, preparing them for the day their sentences end and they attempt to become functioning members of society. Now, Brown is not an adviser who will stay for a few hours, then depart. He is locked up in a cell the size of a walk-in closet. The teacher has become a prisoner.

His voice sounds tired, perhaps the effects of his 14-day hunger strike to protest what he calls an unfair sentence: the six-month jail term he received after refusing to undergo court-ordered counseling and community service resulting from a conviction for vandalizing the car of his wife, Monique, in 1999.

Those qualities have also helped him land in quicksand more than once. Brown has been involved in a number of incidents of violence against women.

Every superhero or larger-than-life figure has a gross flaw; with Brown, it is his brutal treatment of women. Five times he has been accused of threatening or attacking women, and five times his accusers have refused to testify against him.

The filmmaker Spike Lee has made an appreciative — but honest — documentary about Brown’s life called ”Jim Brown: All American.” The moving portrait of Brown captured how he became a new kind of black hero, but what gives the film depth is the fact that Lee does not shy away from Brown’s problems with women.

One of the most infamous moments in Brown’s life was in 1968, when he was accused of throwing Eva Marie Bohn-Chin, a German model, off a second-story balcony. Brown insists she jumped. In her first interview on the subject, she says in the movie: ”I was young, good-looking, a person who loved life. Why would I jump?”

Sounds like just the kind of guy that we would like to have talking to Williams athletes!

#2 Comment By wslack On October 30, 2009 @ 9:35 am

(sigh) – I went to a Q&A with the guy – he was great, absolutely fantastic, and there is no reason for me to think his visit was anything but inspiring and helpful for all involved.

#3 Comment By David On October 30, 2009 @ 9:56 am

Will: Perhaps I am not conveying my tone appropriately.

1) I am happy to hear that the Q&A was such a success. I am in favor of inviting such speakers to Williams (and paying them to come). I would vote in favor of inviting him again.

2) Wife-beaters are often the life of the party!

3) The point I am making is that, although you and I and others have no problem inviting Brown to campus, there are other members of the Williams community who may (probably!) feel quite differently, who think living a life in which you beat the women around you is problematic, who would argue that Williams should not associate itself with such folks.

4) Brown’s race probably insulates him from such criticisms, at least at a place like Williams.

5) Statistics question: Given that Brown has been charged with physical abuse by at least five different women how many individual acts of abuse — meaning things that he would be arrested for — has he been guilty of? I would guess hundreds. Once a woman-beater, always (and often) a woman-beater.

Again: My main point is that I would be really interested to know what the members of the Women’s Collective (as well as faculty members like Katie Kent and Wendy Raymond) think about Brown and his visit to Williams. The Record ought to ask them.

#4 Comment By rory On October 30, 2009 @ 10:15 am

holy shit, why did i know i wouldn’t want to read these comments? race baiting? about Jim Brown?

and he woulda been fine in the league after 30. Jim Brown was one of the “very few” who can play past 30.

#5 Comment By Ronit On October 30, 2009 @ 10:17 am

15 yard penalty, attempt to incite a flamewar.

Also:

Maybe things were different back then, but very few running backs do much after they turn 30.

Maybe you don’t know what you’re talking about.

#6 Comment By JeffZ On October 30, 2009 @ 12:38 pm

Tons more about the speech here, including multiple links:

http://athletics.williams.edu/sports/General_News_Items/1030_A_Day_and_Night_with_Jim_Brown_at_Williams

This release notes that Professor Bernard Moore got Brown to speak. He is clearly a well-conducted guy, as he also was responsible for the congressional black caucus event last year.

#7 Comment By frank uible On October 30, 2009 @ 5:02 pm

It is expected that Doc Moore behaves himself but, more importantly in this case, knows the right people.

#8 Comment By JeffZ On October 30, 2009 @ 5:11 pm

Woops, in case it wasn’t obvious, I did indeed mean well-connected. The mind does funny things when typing quickly …

#9 Comment By David On October 30, 2009 @ 5:37 pm

More on Brown’s past from the 1986 New York Times.

Jim Brown, the Pro Football Hall of Fame running back, was arrested in Los Angeles again early yesterday, this time for investigation of spousal battery, a felony. Brown, 50 years old, who last played football for the Cleveland Browns in 1965 and then began a movie career, was released on $5,000 bail three hours after his arrest at 5:15 A.M. in an incident involving Debra Clark, his 22-year-old fiancee.

The police said that Miss Clark, who was treated for a bruise under one eye and another on her side, had called them from a locked bedroom in Brown’s home, then left the house, armed with a .45 caliber pistol, and met police outside. She told them, the police said, that she and Brown had argued after several houseguests had gone to bed after 3 A.M., and that Brown had beaten her. Brown has faced similar assault charges three times before in Los Angeles but has never been convicted.

No doubt he was framed. Same was probably true in 1969 and 1985.

Jim Brown, the Pro Football Hall of Famer, was arrested on a charge of rape and sexual battery, the police said today.

Brown, 49 years old, was arrested at his home in Hollywood Hills in connection with an incident late Tuesday night, said Sgt. Richard Beardslee. Arrested with him was Carol Moses, 22. The police said a 33-year-old woman, whom they did not identify. had made the charge. Brown was released on $17,500 bail, and Miss Moses on $1,000 bail.

And in 1999.

Jim Brown, the former star running back for the Cleveland Browns, was arrested and charged with a felony count of making terroristic threats toward his 25-year-old wife, the police said.

Brown, 62, a member of the pro football Hall of Fame, was arrested Tuesday afternoon after the police responded to a call of a domestic disturbance between him and Monique Brown at their home, said Officer Eduardo Funes of the Los Angeles Police Department.

Nothing to see here. Just move along.

#10 Comment By frank uible On October 30, 2009 @ 6:04 pm

Tacky, tacky, tacky.

#11 Comment By rory On October 30, 2009 @ 10:35 pm

#12 Comment By Ronit On October 30, 2009 @ 10:44 pm

Brown’s race probably insulates him from such criticisms, at least at a place like Williams.

because if there’s one defining characteristic of American society, it’s showing excessive leniency towards black men who commit crimes, right?

#13 Comment By Sam On October 30, 2009 @ 11:17 pm

Hayek dumped his first wife and kids in an “atrocious” manner. By Kane’s standards this should make him untouchable….(how long before the rationalization to save the ideological hero?)

#14 Comment By David On October 30, 2009 @ 11:27 pm

1) I write:

1) I am happy to hear that the Q&A was such a success. I am in favor of inviting such speakers to Williams (and paying them to come). I would vote in favor of inviting him again.

Sam translates this to mean that I view Brown as “untouchable.” Okey-dokey! If by “untouchable” you mean someone that I am in favor of paying to come talk at Williams, then we are on the same page.

2) I did not know that about Hayek. Seems like he was a bad husband! Perhaps it is obvious, but people are multi-dimensional. One can be a great running back/economist and a bad boyfriend/husband.

3) My friends in the Women’s Collective may view domestic violence as a worse sin than divorce. Call them unreasonable . . .

#15 Comment By David On October 30, 2009 @ 11:28 pm

Ronit: Williams College != “American society”

#16 Comment By ephling On October 31, 2009 @ 9:35 am

Would you have the same objections to Bill Clinton being invited to speak? In most of us there is good and bad. Something about throwing the first stone.

#17 Comment By David On October 31, 2009 @ 9:43 am

Can you read? For the third time:

I am in favor of inviting such speakers to Williams (and paying them to come). I would vote in favor of inviting him again.

I have no objections to Jim Brown speaking on campus. Therefore I have no objections to Bill Clinton, or anyone else, speaking on campus. Speech is good!

By the way, would you put Brown’s sins (a 30 year record of domestic violence) in the same category as Clinton’s?

The more interesting question: Should Williams award Jim Brown an honorary degree? He is certainly as important in athletics as, say, James Taylor is in music.

#18 Comment By rory On October 31, 2009 @ 10:41 am

having cake: “Sounds like just the kind of guy that we would like to have talking to Williams athletes!” (written in comment one after a swipe about Brown’s domestic violence cases)

and comment nine: “No doubt he was framed. Same was probably true in 1969 and 1985.”

eating it too: “I am in favor of inviting such speakers to Williams (and paying them to come). I would vote in favor of inviting him again.”

mmm…now i want some cake…but should i have it to eat later, or eat it now?!?!? If only I could do both like David!

#19 Comment By David On October 31, 2009 @ 10:47 am

Rory: Perhaps this is a tough concept to get your mind around, but it is possible to simultaneously believe two things:

1) Person A should be invited to speak at Williams.
2) Person A has, in the past, done so fairly noxious things.

Got the concept in general? Good! Now apply it to Jim Brown.

1) Jim Brown should be invited to speak at Williams.
2) Jim Brown has, in the past, done so fairly noxious things (in his relationships with various women).

See? That was easy!

#20 Comment By rory On October 31, 2009 @ 5:59 pm

quite simply, your comments here are the best example of concern trolling I’ve ever seen in my life. It’s not that I don’t understand that one can be a hypocrite (mockingly saying he sounds like someone we should have talk and then support having him talk) and can try to avoid that label, it’s that i have a habit to poke the concern troll/hypocrite when they come out.

it’s a bad habit. i should stop it.

#21 Comment By anon On November 1, 2009 @ 12:41 am

his probably significant speaking fee

Just wanted to point out that Brown forwent his speaking fee (normally around $3000) in exchange for a donation to Amer-I-Can, and the chance to spread his message. We did pay for his travel expenses, but still he was very generous, and we probably wouldn’t have been able to bring him in to speak otherwise.

#22 Comment By Judy On November 2, 2009 @ 3:34 am

I am a female who thoroughly enjoyed, and appreciated Mr. Brown speaking at Williams College. He was frank, honest, and gave a no holds barred look into his life. He is to be commended for his great work saving live with his Amer-I-Can organization. To my knowledge, he has never been convicted of anything involving women, besides vandalism, and has admitted to being wrong. Wasn’t that like 10 years ago?? Last I checked, I didn’t live in a glass house.

#23 Comment By David On November 2, 2009 @ 9:12 am

Rory: Are you sure that “concern trolling” is the issue here? I am making the point that there are probably people in the Williams community with very different ideas about the life and legacy of Jim Brown. The first group, well represented on this thread, things that he is just all things wonderful. The second group think that a 30 year history of violence against women is problematic. I think that both groups have a point! One of my roles is to, as my Marxist friends say, highlight the contradictions.

Judy: As far as I know, Brown has only been convicted of vandalism. But “not convicted” is not the same thing as “probably innocent.” I would urge you to contact some of your fellow Ephs with knowledge about domestic violence. It is fairly obvious from Brown’s record of arrests and accusations that he has committed domestic violence on numerous occasions. Again, in my view, this fact should not prevent Williams from inviting Brown to speak. But would you be comfortable if Williams were to give him an honorary degree? If so, is there any level of domestic violence which would make you hesitate? Perhaps we should give an award to OJ. He was never convicted either!

anon: I do not care if Brown kept his speaking fee or donated it to his personal charity. Here (pdf) is the Form 990 for Brown’s foundation. You really think that it does all the stuff that he implies it does . . .

#24 Comment By rory On November 2, 2009 @ 9:25 am

concern trolling about concern trolling…how meta.