Statement By Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Chicago, IL. The NFL’s youngest player ever inducted into the NFL’s Hall of Fame Gale Sayers died at age 77.  Our prayers are with his wife, Ardythe, family and friends.

Sayers was the most exciting player to ever play in the NFL.  The number 40 running back, kick-off and punt returner was the most exhilarating runner in Chicago Bears history.  He was poetry in motion and a ballet dancer as he ran the football and took his leg away as tacklers sought to bring him down.

Gale Sayers was a personal friend and a neighbor of mine who lived just two blocks to the south of me on Constance Avenue.  After leaving football because of injuries, he became a successful businessman and supportive of our organization as we fought to end racism in sports.

More than a star football player, Gale Sayers was a beautiful human being and a man of integrity.  He was a quiet, humble, kind and unassuming star.  He was a bright and shining star on and off the field.

As a college star at the University of Kansas he was nicknamed the “Kansas Comet” and after being picked 4th in the 1965 NFL college draft, Sayers had one of the NFL’s all-time best rookie seasons and won the “Rookie of the Year” award.

Sayers set a league record in his first season by scoring 22 touchdowns — including a record-tying six in a single game — and gained 2,272 all-purpose yards, also throwing for a TD pass and running back one punt and one kickoff for scores in 14 games in 1965. He earned four Pro Bowl appearances and five first-team All-Pro selections in his first five seasons.  Several knee injuries ended his football career after just seven years.




Media Contacts:
Frank Watkins
Chinta Strausberg
Alanna Ford

Rainbow PUSH Coalition is a multi-racial, multi-issue, progressive, international organization that was formed in December 1996 by the Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. through merging of two organizations he founded Operation PUSH People United to Serve Humanity (estab. 1971) and the Rainbow Coalition (estab. 1984). With headquarters in Chicago and offices in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, New York and Oakland, the organization works to make the American Dream a reality for all citizens while advocating for peace and justice around the world. RPC is dedicated to improving the lives of all people by serving as a voice for the voiceless. Its mission is to protect, defend and gain civil rights by leveling the economic and educational playing fields while promoting peace and justice around the world.