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Inside Hotlanta and the SIAC

Hal LamarBy Hal Lamar
Photos b
y AP and Atlanta Magazne

The Story of the yellow football penalty flag

EVER WONDERED: How did the yellow football penalty flag come into existence? I stopped wondering and started searching.
Seems in the early days of the sport with the oval ball, the referee would blow a whistle or a horn to indicate a penalty. That got things confusing. In 1941, Dwight Beede, head coach at Youngstown College (Ohio) thought a visual signal of a foul being committed on the gridiron would be a better way. So Beede’s wife created four flags from a Holloween costume. It caught on with a Youngstown referee named George McPhee who took it with him in 1943 to an Ohio State grid match. The “Irma Beede” flag was soon used in all of the games of the Western Conference (now known as the Big 10.) In 1948, the penalty flag was adopted by the NFL but the color was changed to white. That flag was used for 17 years until 1965 when it was replaced by yellow fabric, supposedly because of color television. Probably to prevent the yellow flags from blowing away when dropped by the stripes and to keep the flag at the “spot of the foul”, they were wrapped napkin-like around ball bearings. But that came to a screeching halt in 1999 during a game between the Cleveland Browns and the Jacksonville Jaguars. Cleveland offepenalty flagnsive lineman orlando brown apBrownOrlando Brown (South Carolina State) was inadvertently hit in the eye with the “heavy flags” by referee Jeff Triplette. Brown responded by shoving Triplette to the ground and wound up ejected from the game. He was suspended by the NFL but that was later lifted when the extent of his injury was made public. He wound up partially blind and missed three seasons but returned in 2003 to make a comeback with the Baltimore Ravens. Whether the incident caused Brown’s death in 2011 is unclear since he suffered from diabetes. The league did outlaw bearings and other hard objects in the flag-bag, replacing it with sand or beans……………

REMEMBERING FIGHT NIGHT ATLANTA 1970-ALI VS QUARRY: Fifty years ago this year, Atlanta was the scene of the return of Muhammad Ali to the boxing ring. Gone for over three years because of his refusal to serve in the Armed Forces over the Vietnam War and religious grounds as a Muslim, he fought Jerry Quarry and won with a technical knockout before the fourth round started. While researching information on my hometown’s big night, I ran across a great article published in October of 2005 by Atlanta Magazine, written by David Davis. The article contained comments from notables who revealed interesting facts about the historical boxing match which occurred both inside and outside the ring,ali quarry

Here are a few::

  • Before the fight came to Georgia, 22 other states had refused to give Ali a license.
  • The fight crowd was not short of big shots from entertainment and politics. They included singer Diana Ross, actor Sidney Poitier, comedian Bill Cosby, Atlanta Braves baseball great Hank Aaron, Mrs. Coretta Scott King, Julian Bond, Andrew Young and Rev Jesse Jackson.
  • Originally, the fight was going to be held in Mississippi, which did issue the champ a license. But after complaints from too many bigots, the Magnolia state reneged.
  • A New York attorney and boxing promoter named Robert Kassell decided to try and get a license in Georgia for Ali. Looking for someone to help him, Kassell’s father-in-law Harry Pett, an Atlanta business owner, recommended he contact Georgia Senator Leroy Johnson (Morehouse College) , the first black Georgia solon since Reconstruction. In those days, Johnson was considered a major political and social mover-and-shaker in the peach state. He used his political and social prowess to obtain the license.
  •  Johnson decided to test the waters of an Ali comeback fight being held in Atlanta by holding an exhbition with Ali in the Morehouse College gym. Some 3000 came out to see Ali spar.
  • The original license was for a match between Ali and heavyweight champ Joe Frazier. That fizzled when Frazier’s camp turned down the invite. The promoters then turned to the camp of heavyweight contender “Irish” Jerry Quarry. Called boxing’s “white hope”, he signed on September 10 to box Ali and receive a $150,000 guarantee. Ali received a guarantee of $200,000
  • Quarry’s entourage stayed at Senator Johnson’s home while in Atlanta. Johnson’s sister did the cooking
  • The same weekend of the fight, Atlanta hosted a college football game between Georgia Tech and Tulane, an NFL game between the Falcons and New Orleans Saints.and an NBA game between the Hawks and the Boston Celtics.
  • 5000 packed Atlanta’s Municipal Auditorium on the cold fall night of October 26. Ringside tickets were $100 and 205 theaters nationwide showed the fight on closed-circuit TV. The crowd witnessed three preliminary bouts, one with Ali’s brother Rahaman Ali. He too was a heavyweight.
  • The magazine reported that the night of the match, Kassel was served with an injunction from a federal judge to stop it. Kassel stuffed it in his pocket.
  • Five years after 1970, Poitier directed the film “Uptown Saturday Night” which included a scene where high balling party-goers are robbed, then forced to strip at an after-hours club. It reminded movie-goers of the robbery at an after-fight party in northwest Atlanta that generated as many headlines as the boxing match did. But Poitier said any similarities between the film and the 1970 robbery was “serendipitous”…(secret?).
  • Andrew Young told the magazine that the Ali-Quarry fight and the excitement it generated for the “capital of the deep south” signaled the beginning of “the new south.” Six years after 1970, former Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter was elected President and Andrew Young won a Congressional race in 1970. Twenty-six years later, Young contributed to another win which allowed Atlanta to host the Olympics………………

CIVIL RIGHTS AND THE LAW: Few people are aware of the enormous impact the legal community of this country had on the outcome of a lot of civil and social rights movements and outcomes. But thanks to local attorney Derrick Alexander Pope (Morris Brown ), our eyes are being opened to what black male and female barristers did in the courtrooms of this country to knock down barricades and remove the shackles which kept "us" imprisoned during and long after slavery. deririck alexander popePope
Pope, with no small amount of help from his staff of producer Terrass Misher, communications chief Mia Mance (Spelman) and voice talents Saundra Davis, Yvonne Godfrey, Quintin McGhee and Derwin Sims, produced a polished, enlightening, thoroughly informative and entertaining podcast series called “Hidden Legal Figures”. I like the way that Pope describes the work. " Each week, this podcast brings you the lost stories of the heroic and vital contributions lawyers and judges have made to the civil rights movement."

He's right. Most of us have followed the protests, marches, speeches and activities of the movement and its leaders through radio and TV and, of late, cable broadcasts and major media outlets without realizing that many of those civil rights victories were ultimately won away from the glaring lights of media and in courtrooms around the globe. " Hidden Legal Figures”, is produced and marketed by the Arc of Justice Project which Pope co-founded and currently serves as president. The 30 minute podcasts also expose little known facts about legal movers and shakers. To put it in their words, the series is "more than a podcast. We’re an oral museum".

An instance: Few people are aware that James Weldon Johnson, known principally for writing "Lift Every Voice and Sing", heralded as the Negro National Anthem, was also an attorney and executive secretary for the NAACP.

Find out more about the Arc of Justice and hear a sample podcast by visiting their website: blaze restaurant

NEW EATS IN THE ATL: The city now has another white tablecloth restaurant thanks to Housewives of Atlanta co-star Kandi Burress (Alcorn) and husband Todd Rucker called Blaze steak and seafood. It’s located in the same area that once housed Gladys Knight’s chicken and waffle bistro in the city’s Cascade Heights community.




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