In 1935 a different professional football league called the AFL II had a Cleveland team called the Rams. They folded, and in 1936 the NFL adopted its own version of the Cleveland Rams. Four players from the other version of this team jumped from the AFL II to the NFL.
The Rams operated in Cleveland from 1936 until 1946 when the team moved to Los Angeles. Their ownership History is almost as jumbled. Homer Marshman was the Rams original owner. In 1941 he sold the team to a man named Dan Reeves. He is no relation to the former Cowboys player and assistant coach.
In 1943 Reeves suspended operations due to so many players leaving for World War II. They resumed operatons in 1944. Dan Reeves continued to own the team until he died in 1971. Along the way the Rams became the very first team to re-integrate and allow Black football players. Note that I said re-integrate, not integrate. There were early African American football players. For example, Fritz Pollard. he was not only playing in 1920, but was the NFL’s very first Black Head Coach. The NFL segregated in 1933, largely at the behest of Washington Redskins owner, George Preston Marshall, a noted racist.
Dan Reeves, George Halas, and Art Rooney I decided to end segregation in 1946, one year prior to the Los Angeles Dodgers doing the same in baseball. At UCLA Jackie Robinson played baseball with Kenny Washington and Woody Strode. Washington and Strode joined the Rams in 1946 as the first two African American football players of the modern, or post WWII era. Woody Strode later went on to star in some movies and spent time as a professional wrestler before and after his time with the Rams. Interesting that 3 pioneers all played together in college.
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