What Color Should a Quarterback Be?

How James Harris Changed the NFL’s Marquee Role

What Color Should a Quarterback Be

An hour or two before kickoff on the night of August 15, 1969, a rookie quarterback named James Harris noticed a well-dressed man about a foot shorter than him approaching through the tunnel beneath Detroit’s Tiger Stadium. His 5-foot-4 height notwithstanding, the man was a former NFL running back named Buddy Young. More to the point of this encounter, Young was now the first black executive in the league’s front office.

Young had more than a casual interest in the evening’s game between the hometown Lions and the Buffalo Bills, Harris’ …

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