Jim Brown, all-time NFL great and social activist, dead at 87

Jim Brown, all-time NFL great and social activist, dead at 87


Jim Brown was virtually unstoppable in every arena.

Whether on the field, as a Hollywood film hero or civil rights advocate, Brown was a force.

One of the greatest players in NFL history, Brown, who retired at the peak of his playing career to pursue acting and remained in the public spotlight as an activist — and due to off-field transgressions that included allegations of violence against women — has died. He was 87.

A spokeswoman for Brown’s family said he died peacefully in his Los Angeles home on Thursday night with his wife, Monique, by his side.

“To the world, he was an activist, actor, and football star,” Monique Brown wrote in an Instagram post. “To our family, he was a loving husband, father, and grandfather. Our hearts are broken.”

One of pro football’s first superstars, Brown was a wrecking ball while leading the league in rushing for eight of his nine seasons with the Cleveland Browns. He never missed a game, playing in 118 straight before his sudden retirement in 1965 — after being named Most Valuable Player.

Reactions to the death of Jim Brown, NFL star, social activist and actor
Chargers add depth to defensive line with signing of Nick Williams
NFL confirms no Commanders sale vote will take place at spring owners meetings next week
NFL announces participants for Coach Accelerator program
Brown led the Browns to their last championship in 1964 before quitting football in his prime at age 30 to make movies. He appeared in more than 30 films, including “Any Given Sunday” and “The Dirty Dozen.”

A powerful runner with speed and endurance, Brown’s arrival sparked the game’s burgeoning popularity on television and he remained an indomitable figure well after his playing days ended.

Brown was also a champion for Black Americans and used his platform and voice to fight for equality.

“I hope every Black athlete takes the time to educate themselves about this incredible man and what he did to change all of our lives,” NBA star LeBron James said. “We all stand on your shoulders Jim Brown. If you grew up in Northeast Ohio and were Black, Jim Brown was a God.”

In June 1967, Brown organized “The Cleveland Summit,” a meeting of the nation’s top Black athletes, including Bill Russell and Lew Alcindor, who later became Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, to support boxer Muhammad Ali’s fight against serving in Vietnam.

In later years, he worked to curb gang violence in LA and in 1988 founded Amer-I-Can, a program to help disadvantaged inner-city youth and ex-convicts.

On the field, there was no one like Brown, who would blast through would-be tacklers, refusing to let one man take him down before sprinting away from linebackers and defensive backs. He was also famous for using a stiff arm to shed defenders in the open field or push them away like they were rag dolls.

Indeed, Brown was unlike any back before him, and some feel there has never been anyone better than Cleveland’s No. 32. At 6-foot-2, 230 pounds, he was relentless, fighting for every yard, dragging multiple defenders along or finding holes where none seemed to exist.

After Brown was tackled, he’d slowly rise and walk even more slowly back to the huddle — then dominate the defense when he got the ball again.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell offered his condolences on behalf of the league.