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Jim Brown critics should defer censure

NFL stalwarts Jim Brown and Ray Lewis at Trump Towers in New York following meeting with the president-elect. Courtesy WBAL

Critics yapping about Jim Brown’s meeting with President-elect Donald Trump, know little about his stellar work after football

National Football League gridiron great and Hall of Famer Jim Brown has been striving for years to get traction for AMER-I-CAN, his nonprofit program to help Black urban males. The Democrats have never done much to help his cause, nor any other political party in the U.S. He has received some private philanthropic help, but not nearly enough.

Now, he and another NFL Hall of Fame great, linebacker Ray Lewis want to see what President-elect Donald Trump will do to advance their cause. After all, he said he will help the inner city. It remains to be seen. Brown and Lewis met with Trump at Trump Towers, Tuesday for talks. The details of the discussion are unknown, but Brown said it centered on lifting up urban America with meaningful jobs and aid.

People are already doubting the move by Brown and Lewis. But, what this writer believes, is that Brown is “real.” I’ve seen him up close in action. There’s no pretense with him.

I wrote a story years ago about a gifted 9-year-old black wrestler from Compton named Joey Davis, Jr., who didn’t have the money to pay for a flight to Amsterdam, Netherland to compete in the World Junior Championships in 2004. The City of Compton wouldn’t give this kid a dime (very regretful). Jim Brown read the story, stepped up to the plate and donated $3,000 for the roundtrip plane fare and lodging. Joey finished second place in the world that year. There’s no telling how much this buoyed Joey’s faith.

He went on from there to win the California CIF high school wrestling championships three years in a row, then won a full scholarship to Notre Dame College of Ohio, where he was the third undefeated NCAA wrestler over a four-year career ever and the first wrestler in the history of the NCAA Division II to end his entire career undefeated. He finished his career with an immaculate record of 133-0.

Today, young Joey is a professional Mixed Martial Arts fighter with Bellator MMA (turn pro two months ago). He’s undefeated 1-0.

Joey’s success might have been improbable if not for Jim Brown’s kindness. Joey could have ended up like so many Black kids from Compton — a gang, or drug abuse statistic, incarcerated or six feet under. His dad, Joey, Sr. gave the tough love, a rigid upbringing.

Then, years later Brown came along and watered what Joey, Sr. planted. Brown has been doing this sort of thing for decades.

So, before you lump Jim Brown in a category with “Sell Outs and Sold Outs,” consider his record. How many other rich and famous Black American athletes, entertainers, and businessmen and woman have invested in the inner city like Brown? I dare to venture, less than a hand full.

Jim Brown is the real deal.

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