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Gayle Sayers & Brian Piccolo
Crossing Racial Lines
Bruce W. Thielemann
Tuesday, May 16, 2000

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Key Bible Verse: "I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother; you were very dear to me" (2 Samuel 1:26a). Bonus Reading:

Gayle Sayers and Brian Piccolo, star running backs for the Chicago Bears, created a sensation as the first black and white men in professional football to room together.

Reporters asked them about it. Reporter: "Do you mind living with him?" Piccolo: "Not if he doesn't use the bathroom." Reporter: "What do you two fellows talk about?" Sayers: "Oh, just the usual racist talk." They kidded each other a lot, but there was deep affection between them.

Then Piccolo contracted cancer and began to spend more time in the hospital than on the football field. The two had planned to go with their wives to the Professional Football Writers Association banquet in New York, where Sayers was to be presented the George S. Halas Award as that year's most courageous player. But the advance of the disease rendered Piccolo unable to go.

When the moment came for Sayers to receive the award, he stepped to the microphone and, with tears rolling down his cheeks, unashamedly said, "You flatter me by giving me this award. But I accept it for Brian Picolo. Brian is the man who should receive the award. I love Brian, and I'd like you to love him, too."

—Bruce W. Thielemann in Preaching Today

Personal Challenge:

  • Is there someone in your life from whom you're withholding love? Write their name on a piece of paper and pray for them each day this week.

Thought to Apply: We are all alike, on the inside.

— MARK TWAIN (writer, 19th century)

Credits: Adapted from— Tuesday: Preaching Today (40)

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