King Football: Sport and Spectacle in the Golden Age of Radio and Newsreels, Movies and Magazines, the Weekly & the Daily Press

By Michael Oriard | Go to book overview

9
Race

Elmer Mitchell’s survey of “Racial Traits in Athletics” included the Indian and the Negro. The Indian had “a tall, well-knit structure” but also a basic psychological failing: “he is not at home outside his own environment.” Mitchell granted that Jim Thorpe was “probably the greatest allaround athlete of all times,” but football stars such as Thorpe and Joe Guyon of Carlisle and Georgia Tech were “not truly representative” of their race. Coaches observing typical players on All-Indian teams agreed that “the Indian cannot stand reverses; that he will play sensationally while winning, but give in easily before setbacks; also that the Indian teams do not do well away from home”—surprising news to former Carlisle athletes who played nearly all their games on the road. “Indian teams lack persistent effort,” Mitchell added, “and training or practice quickly become irksome if not relieved by novel methods.” Playing with his own kind, “the Indian shows the traditional red man’s traits. He is stoical in enduring pain. He is crafty, with the sense acutely developed. He nurses a wrong. He is cruel.” But he is also strong and brave, “ready to repay a kind deed,” and unselfish with his own race.1

The Negro, according to Mitchell, was “quiet and unassuming,” and, unlike the Indian, content with an inferior status on white teams. His good humor enabled him to accept teammates’ “pranks” and “to meet intentional rough play and jibes of his opponents with a grin.” On teams entirely of his

-283-

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King Football: Sport and Spectacle in the Golden Age of Radio and Newsreels, Movies and Magazines, the Weekly & the Daily Press
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Preface xi
  • Introduction 1
  • I - In the Kingdom of Football 21
  • 1 - Reading, Watching, & Listening to Football 23
  • 2 - Local Football 65
  • 3 - Who Cares about Reform? 101
  • 4 - Players’ or Coaches’ Whose Game Is It? 126
  • 5 - Gridiron, U.S.a 162
  • 6 - Sanctioning Savagery 199
  • II - What We Think about When We Think about Football 223
  • 7 - Class? 225
  • 8 - Ethnicity 255
  • 9 - Race 283
  • 10 - Masculinity 328
  • Epilogue- Into the Age of Television 364
  • Appendix A - Football Films, 1920–1960 371
  • Appendix B - Football Covers on the Saturday Evening Post and Collier’s, 1920–1960 374
  • Appendix C - Football Fiction in the Saturday Evening Post and Collier’s, 1920–1960 378
  • Notes 383
  • Bibliography 435
  • Index 471
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