Or Kenneth “Kingfish” Washington–the first African American signed to an NFL team in the modern era. He played college football with Jackie Robinson at UCLA and was considered by many to be a standout athlete in his own right. After some gigs with a couple of minor professional football leagues and more than a few knee injuries later, the NFL finally ended a prolonged ban on black players when Washington joined the Los Angeles Rams. However, too much time and too many injuries had already transpired. Playing only three seasons with the Rams, Washington retired in 1948–but not before at least one vibrant, beautiful card issue could be made. Now it’s been gradually unmade by man and the brutal process of deterioration. Now it’s been beautifully wrecked with all of the fitting metaphoric potential. Colors appear faded, corners indicate signs of dogeared folds, and an almost evenly divided quadrant of creases seems to segregate poor Kenny from himself. But it’s still here holding on strong to an ever slipping, tenuous existence. And while in the hushed arenas of collective memory his stat. lines may yield only whispers, Kenny Washington’s breakthrough should instead summon from bottom to uppermost tiers a resonant, undulant roar.
Visit the Kenny Washington Wikipedia entry here.
Image courtesy of COMC.com.