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Viola Davis tells story of Kenny Washington, who broke NFL color barrier

Oscar-winner Viola Davis recounted the NFL's 'Jackie Robinson moment' during the Super Bowl 55 pregame show.

What was the NFL's "Jackie Robinson moment?" What was the moment that the NFL re-integrated and broke its unofficial color barrier?

CBS looked at this during its Super Bowl LV pregame coverage Sunday with the help of Academy Award-winner Viola Davis.

The NFL was born in 1920 and there was no color barrier, albeit there were only two Black players across its 14 teams. One of them was Hall of Famer Fritz Pollard. Over the next few years, just a handful of Black players made it into the league.

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During the Great Depression in 1933, team owners quietly decided not to allow Blacks into the league any longer, hoping to boost business, according to CBS.

That changed in 1946 when the Cleveland Rams moved to Los Angeles. They would play in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, which was largely built using Black taxpayer dollars. Black journalists pushed back asking why an all-white team should get to play in their stadium.

Rams ownership responded and signed UCLA alum Kenny "Kingfish" Washington, ending a 13-year unofficial ban on Black players in the NFL.

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