Something is about to happen and it is not good. Since it is the championship phase of football season; let’s journey back to Paul “Bear” Bryant, The Crimson Tide, and Sam “Bam” Cunningham.

It is said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.  After living, teaching, and observing this issue for decades, I know that it is true about Diversity; the insanity of not understanding its power is unbelievable.  It is not about feelings, it is about results! Millions and even billions of dollars are lost or unmeasured on an annual basis because of this one void of understanding.  The price is getting higher as I write this blog.

My instincts are telling me that a futile and unnecessary battle is brewing in some  of the most powerful places of leadership, locally, nationally, and internationally. It is about to explode in the area of Diversity.  It is time for the fight to end.  After decades of living, learning, teaching and observing this area; I can say that there are no winners; only losers for all that are impacted.  

Since it is the championship phase of football season; let’s journey back to Paul “Bear” Bryant, The Crimson Tide, and Sam “Bam” Cunningham.  The example will speak for itself….in the end, it is about leading, it is about logic, it is about champions, and ultimately, winning. 

Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant through Sam Cunningham’s introduction changed the face of Alabama football.  It was not by law, IT WAS ABOUT CHOICE.  It was “needing and leading” to win.

HERE IS THE STORY.  IT IS SHARED BY COACH BRYANT’S PERSONAL FRIEND AND PHYSCIAN, Dr. E. Gaylon McCollough (whom I have had the pleasure of meeting personally) in his book, “The Long Shadow of Paul “Bear” Bryant...

 "One crushing defeat delivered by John McKay, the head coach of the University of Southern California.  Until that time, Alabama had always had all-white football teams.  The University of Southern California did not.  USC brought one of the great running backs of all time with them to Birmingham:  Sam "Bam" Cunningham, a black man.  Cunningham put on a coaching clinic that evening in Legion Field, running over, through, and around Alabama's defensive line. 

 When the game ended, Coach Bryant went to the center of the field to congratulate his friend on the victory and asked if he could go with Mr. McKay to the USC dressing room to meet one of his players.  Mr. McKay agreed.  In the USC locker room, Coach Bryant congratulated the players on their performance and asked Coach McKay to introduce him to Sam "Bam" Cunningham.  When the two talked, Coach Bryant asked Cunningham if he would go with him to the Alabama locker room.  He did.

When the doors to the Alabama dressing room opened, in walked Coach Bryant and Cunningham, still dressed in his full USC uniform.  Coach Bryant said to his players, "Gentlemen, I want to introduce you to a football player, Mr. Sam Cunningham."

He didn't need to say a "black' football player.  He simply said 'football player.'  He made his point to the players, his assistant coaches, and to the University of Alabama administrative officials who were in the room......He had already determined that one of the reasons that Alabama was not winning as regularly in intersectional contests was that other teams had great black players who were more talented and more motivated than some of the white players on his teams.

That Sam Cunningham introduction changed the face of Alabama football." 

 The rest is simply, history

Diversity got its prelude from the law of Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action.  However many don’t know, or choose to forget that it is just that, a law.  It can not measure, it can only mitigate.  The purpose of the law is to legally force access where it is not the natural instinct to do so However, performance cannot be forced, or mitigated, it must be motivated.  The story of Coach Bryant demonstrates that when talent shows up, discrimination goes out regardless of race, creed or color.

The issue is sure to come up as 2013 puts into play the newly elected leadership appointments and the world becomes more diverse.  Just remember, Paul “Bear” Bryant, The Crimson Tide, and Sam “Bam” Cunningham.  The example will speak for itself….in the end, it is about champions, it is about leaders, and it is about winning. 

Click below for part 2 of a more brutal insight into Diversity delivered by yours truly on youtube. Part 1 & 3 are there as well.  HAPPY NEW YEAR!!


This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Edgar Jordan Jr. January 14, 2013 at 03:09 PM
Right on point!!!
Michael McBride January 14, 2013 at 07:29 PM
Great story, great lesson.
L. Becker January 15, 2013 at 12:47 PM
The Presidential election supports your message about the power of diversity. Change is sometimes slow but can be profound when people understand its benefits.
Charles Black January 16, 2013 at 05:38 PM
Thanks for a great article I re-posted it to my Facebook page I liked it so much. It also lets us know you can do things without government involvement
Larry King January 21, 2013 at 12:05 AM
Good historical story


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