5 months ago
Wally Triplett, the first African-American to take the field in the NFL, has passed away at the age of 92.
The third of three African-American players who were selected in the 1949 NFL Draft, Triplett was the first of those players to take the field when he suited up for the Detroit Lions.
“I remember staying in a different hotel than my white teammates in Green Bay,” Triplett told the Detroit News years later, “and the walls were thin. When the people in the next room said to each other, ‘You know there are Negroes next to us,’ we clearly heard it. That was typical America back then, a different world. It’s hard to describe it to people who didn’t experience what we had to.”
Triplett was a running back and return specialist for the Lions for two seasons before leaving the team to fight in the Korean War. Following his service, he returned to the NFL and played for the Chicago Cardinals for two years.
A three-year letterman at Penn State, Triplett was also the first African-American to ever start for the Nittany Lions.
“Wally is one of the true trailblazers in American sports history,” the Lions said in a statement. “He resides among the great men who helped reshape the game as they faced the challenges of segregation and discrimination. Wally’s legacy also reaches beyond breaking color barriers, having served in the United States Army during the Korean War. We fondly reflect on his great achievements and send our heartfelt condolences to the Triplett family.”Read the full story at Yahoo Sports