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Friday Cheese Curds: Vince Lombardi led the way in fighting racial prejudice in NFL locker rooms

Lombardi brought a lot of new ideas to Green Bay, but perhaps none more important than an intolerance of prejudice

Vince Lombardi Being Carried by Football Players

February is Black History Month and the Green Bay Packers in particular had a unique role in the ongoing struggle for equality for all.

In the 1960s, at the peak of the civil rights movement, the Packers were forming the first true dynasty in the history of the National Football League. Under the leadership of head coach Vince Lombardi, the Packers of the 1960s re-wrote the record books and dominated the league, winning five of the decade’s championships including the first two Super Bowls.

Lombardi was a pioneer in many ways but perhaps in no bigger way than how he integrated the locker room at a time of peak racial tensions in the United States.

“Work together, win together” was the legendary coach’s mantra and the Packers became an example for professional teams across many sports. Lombardi didn’t care what you looked like or where you came from. He only cared about what was in your heart and what you could do on the football field.

More than that, Lombardi went on the offensive and declared he would not tolerate any prejudice in the locker room and backed that up by having a black assistant coach on his coaching staff. He also brought more players of color to Green Bay in his role as general manager. Lombardi walked the walk.m

This approach was crucial in building the dynasty of the 1960s. Where some teams let their prejudices perhaps get in the way of acquiring the best players, Lombardi saw only talent and it paid off in an historic display of domination.

Lombardi was ahead of his time in multiple ways and we would all be wise to follow his example in many areas of life but especially in combating racial injustice.

The 1960s Packers: A product of Vince Lombardi’s prejudice-free culture—

Lombardi led the charge in the NFL when it came to integration and fighting the forces of racism and it is good to see the league finally once again start to follow his example, though much work remains to be done.

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Packers prepared to borrow from future salary caps to stay in ‘win now’ mode—Packers Wire

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