Bears’ social justice committee addresses the history of the 1936 throwback jerseys

BOURBONNAIS, IL - JULY 27: A detail view of Chicago Bears outside linebacker Khalil Mack (52) jersey's are seen on a rack for sale to the public during the Chicago Bears training camp on July 27, 2019 at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, IL. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

LAKE FOREST – It was a unique group formed in 2018 as a way for the team to address major social issues that come up in the community.

Late Tuesday night, another video was released by the team’s social justice committee, and it concerned their wearing of throwback jerseys this weekend against the Vikings.

Chairman George McCaskey along with committee members Trey Burton, Chase Daniel, Akiem Hicks, Danny Trevathan, and Mitchell Trubisky spoke about the significance of African-Americans wearing the 1936 jersey during a few games in the 2019 season.

Back in 1936 the NFL had an unspoken “ban” of African-American players that lasted for 12 years. It was an overlooked fact brought to light by Chicago sports historian and Windy City Gridiron writer Jack M. Silverstein, who wrote a lengthy expose on the ban of African-American players in that era back in August.

Ahead of the team’s first wearing of the jerseys, this latest video was released, including a statement from McCaskey.

“That was from a time when, unfortunately, African-Americans were not included on the Bears or other NFL rosters,” said the chairman in the video. “Integration of the Bears and the NFL was too long in coming. But we’re proud that this year’s Bears will be the first African-Americans to wear these jerseys.”

As part of the team and league’s 100th anniversary, the throwback jerseys were revealed at the team’s centennial reunion in June in Rosemont. They feature white jerseys with orange and blue stripes with blue pants and striped socks, with a blue helmet featuring orange stripes that give it a “wing” look.

The revelation of the era to which the jerseys came to light only recently, and Akiem Hicks along with Trey Burton each expressed pride in becoming the first African-Americans to wear the jersey in the social justice committee video.

Tarik Cohen, who modeled the jersey when revealed this summer, was in agreement with his them.

“I didn’t even know how far the league has come, you know, from a time where African-Americans weren’t able to be on an NFL team until now. There’s a lot of us on the team,” said Cohen. “It’s kinda like going back and doing it over as we get to get in these jerseys.”

 

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