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ASU Global Sport Institute Summit Screening

  • LUSTRE Rooftop at Hotel Palomar 2 East Jefferson Street Phoenix, AZ 85004 United States (map)

In 1963 Michigan State Head Coach Duffy Daugherty gave 23 African American young men the opportunity of a lifetime. The daughter of football legend Gene Washington uncovers how the first fully-integrated college football team in America changed the game forever.

From 6p-7p Filmmaker Maya Washington and her father Gene Washington will join Global Sport Institute CEO, Kenneth Shropshire for a special discussion prior to the rooftop screening of the documentary.

Following the discussion the film will be shown (approximately one hour) and then Maya & Gene Washington will rejoin us for a Q & A session with the audience to close out the night.

EVENT TICKETS (free) : Eventbrite

Note: The screening and discussion is part of the 2019 Global Sport Summit. Both summit attendees and non-attendees are welcome to attend. Summit attendees can register for the event within their summit registration.

Official Film Trailer:

Film Description:

Through the Banks of the Red Cedar, a play on the Michigan State University fight song, follows the 50 year legacy of Maya's father, legendary Vikings wide-receiver Gene Washington (College Football Hall of Fame, Big Ten Ford-Kinnick Leadership Award, Michigan State Athletics Hall of Fame, 50 Greatest Vikings Honoree) from the segregated South to MSU alongside highly decorated teammates Bubba Smith (Defensive Lineman), George Webster (Rover Back) and Clinton Jones (Running Back) as they become members of the first fully integrated football team in America, later making history as first round picks in the 1967 Draft. The story unfolds through the eyes of Maya Washington, Gene's youngest daughter, as she uncovers her father's journey and the impact of this legacy on the present generation. Maya traces her father's footsteps from the segregated South to the North, over the course of a modern football season. As she uncovers both the triumphs and defeats of her father's team, she develops a newly formed appreciation for the game and a deeper connection to her father, just in time to witness MSU Spartan Football team ascend to national prominence 50 years later.

The racial demographics seen on the field today are due in large part to Hall of Fame coach Duffy Daugherty’s innovative approach to recruiting African American men from the South to MSU in the 1960s, known as the “Underground Railroad” of college football. The success of MSU’s 1965 and 1966 back-to-back Big Ten and National Champion teams forces America to re-think prejudices that previously kept African American players from earning scholarships or starting positions. Civil Rights legislations and the overwhelming success of Duffy’s integrated team force the rest of college football, including programs like Alabama, Texas and Mississippi, to finally recognize and recruit black talent. 

The story delves into the triumphs and defeats of Daugherty's integrated team as they finish the season with the historic 1966 "Game of the Century," a 10-10 tie against Notre Dame. Teammates Gene Washington, Bubba Smith, Clinton Jones, and George Webster make history as first round picks in the 1967 draft. Gene Washington and Clinton Jones bring momentum to the Minnesota Vikings, playing in the 1969 Super Bowl alongside legendary teammates Joe Kapp, Alan Page, Carl Eller, Jim Marshall, John Henderson, Oscar Reed, Dave Osborn and Mick Tingelhoff. Maya's interviews with former players recall the highlights of the Minnesota Vikings' "Purple People Eater" years, as well as the racial discrimination black players faced in the league, speaking to the overall impact African American pioneers had on players' rights, including free agency and the right to negotiate salaries. Her appreciation and gratitude for her father grows deeper as together they reveal how what happened 50 years ago is still relevant today.