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Winston-Salem left impression on Lombardi

“The [Packers’] final preseason game [of 1960] was held in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, against the lily-white Washington Redskins. According to Lombardi lore, an event took place there that solidified the coach’s decision to no longer submit his team to the segregation policies of the South. Lombardi, his naturally tawny skin further darkened by a month of practice under the summer sun, entered a local restaurant the night before the game and was refused seating by a hostess who mistook him for a black man.

“There are many apocrypha in the legend of St. Vincent of Green Bay, but this story rings true. Lombardi told it to his family later, and … the black players often joked among themselves that by the end of summer camp their coach was a secret ‘brother.’ ”

– From “When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi” (1999) by David Marannis

Wouldn’t ESPN do well to consider this scene for its recently announced “Lombardi” biopic? Robert De Niro has the title role.