AP Was There: The first start for a black quarterback in AFL


DENVER (AP) — Marlin Briscoe had to demand a tryout to be considered at quarterback when he was drafted by the Denver Broncos in 1968. He ended up becoming the first black quarterback to start in the American Football League.

Briscoe says he sees parallels with his experiences in how black athletes are treated 50 years later.

His groundbreaking accomplishments were somewhat lost in the shuffle in 1968, one of the most transformative years in U.S. history. Civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy were assassinated that year. There were civil rights riots and numerous protests of the Vietnam War. Less than two weeks after Briscoe’s first start, U.S. track and field stars Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised black-gloved fists on the medal stand at the Olympics to protest America’s social injustices.

But Briscoe’s legacy resonates among his contemporaries 50 years later, hitting on race as well as the pressures athletes face in pro sports.

Here are two stories from The Associated Press as they appeared in newspapers when Briscoe played in his first game and when he made his first start.

Source: Fox Sports

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