First Black General Manager in the National Football League

Ozzie Newsome
Mon, 2002-11-25

On this date in 2002, The National Football League's Baltimore Ravens formally named Ozzie Newsome as their general manager (GM) and executive vice president.

Newsome thus became the first African American GM in the sport. The contract agreement will keep him with the team for the next five years. Newsome has worked in the game/business on every level, from a rookie tight end when the Cleveland Browns drafted him in 1978 to the highest personnel and administrative level. Newsome, the only Black GM in the league, was born in Muscle Shoals, AL., eight years before the Civil Rights Act.

Yet the University of Alabama and Cleveland Brown standout tight end said his advancement is just a part of a bigger picture. “You have to go back to timing. John Mitchell had to be that first Black to play at Alabama. Hank Aaron, in doing what he did, and any of the other things that happened through the years, somebody had to be the first." Newsome also said "But when you get that opportunity, that’s what it’s all about. When John got that opportunity, he made the best of it. Hank’s made the best of it. Hopefully, I’ll continue to make the most of it.”

The Associated Press
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