The National Football League was established in 1920 as the first professional American football league. Originally named the American Professional Football Association, the league rebranded itself under the current name for the 1922 season.
- 1 Integration
- 2 Hall of Fame
- 3 Current Players
- 4 Notable Achievers
- 5 Coaches
- 6 Front Office Executives
- 7 Officiating Crew
- 8 Sports Broadcasters
- 9 Attorneys, Agents, and Consultants
- 10 Updates
The first black players in the NFL were Fritz Pollard and Bobby Marshall, who joined the league at its inception in 1920. A total of nine black people suited up for NFL teams between 1920 and 1926, including future attorney, activist, and internationally acclaimed artist Paul Robeson.
Between 1927 and 1933, black participation in the National Football League was halted as a result of racially motivated factors. It wasn't until after the Second World War that the color barrier in football was crossed when, in 1946, UCLA's Kenny Washington signed a contract to play with the Los Angeles Rams. The team had just moved from Cleveland to the west coast and had planned on playing home games at the Los Angeles Coliseum. But the stadium's public funding prohibited its management from violating the "separate but equal" clause in the 1896 Supreme Court decision in Plessy vs Ferguson by allowing a segregated team to play. By signing Washington, the Rams were able to avert a legal dispute, cross the color barrier, and usher in the modern era of football.
According to the TIDES Racial and Gender Report Card, in 2015, there were 1,957 African-American players in the NFL, making up 68.7 percent of the league total.
Hall of Fame
The following inductees in the National Football League's Hall of Fame are members of Kappa Alpha Psi.
|Willie Roaf||OT||Chiefs||1993 to 2005||2012||Little Rock (AR), 1999|
|Aeneas Williams||DB||Rams||1991 to 2004||2014||Alpha Sigma (1988)|
|Lemuel Barney||CB||Lions||1967 to 1977||1992||Delta Delta (1966)|
|Bob Brown||OT||Eagles||1964 to 1973||2004||Eta (1963)|
|Gale Sayers||RB||Bears||1965 to 1971||1977||Mu (1963)|
|Willie Davis||DE||Packers||1958 to 1969||1981||Gamma Psi (1954)|
|Ollie Matson||HB||Eagles||1952 to 1966||1972||Gamma Alpha (1950)|
|John H. Johnson||RB||Lions||1954 to 1966||1987||Gamma Iota (1954)|
|Bill Willis||DT||Browns||1946 to 1953||1977||Zeta (1945)|
The following National Football League players are members of Kappa Alpha Psi.
|Ryan Smith||CB||Buccaneers||2016||Alpha Kappa (2014)|
|Corey D. Coleman||WR||Browns||2016||Xi Sigma (2013)|
|Deandre Houston-Carson||DB||Bears||2016||Xi Theta (2013)|
|Brett Hundley||QB||Packers||2015||Upsilon (2013)|
|Jordan Matthews||WR||Eagles||2014||Nu Rho (2012)|
|Marquise Goodwin||WR||Bills||2013||Iota Delta (2012)|
|Bruce "BJ" Daniels||QB||Free Agent||2013||Zeta Chi (2010)|
|Christopher Gragg||WR||Bills||2013||Iota Tau (2010)|
|Brandon Brooks||OG||Eagles||2012||Houston (TX), 2015|
|Damontre Moore||DE||Free Agent||2012||Nu Alpha (2012)|
|Brandon M. Marshall||LB||Broncos||2012||Xi Phi (2011)|
|Keenan Robinson||LB||Giants||2012||Iota Delta (2011)|
|Kyle T. Wilber||DE||Cowboys||2012||Omicron Sigma (2009)|
|Colin Kaepernick||QB||Niners||2011||Xi Phi (2010)|
|Andre Roberts||WR||Lions||2010||Omicron Mu (2009)|
|Earl V. Thomas||DB||Seahawks||2010||Iota Delta (2009)|
|Derrick Morgan||DE||Titans||2010||Lambda Delta (2008)|
|Ramon Foster||OG||Steelers||2009||Brentwood (TN), 2011|
|Brandon T. Marshall||WR||Jets||2006||Lambda Omega (2005)|
The following former players in the National Football League are members of Kappa Alpha Psi. A more exhaustive list of former players who are members of Kappa Alpha Psi at Former Football Players.
|Keenan Lewis||DB||Saints||2009 to 2015||Iota Iota (2008)|
|Nnamdi Asomugha||CB||Niners||2003 to 2013||Gamma Alpha (2001)|
|Darren Sharper||SF||Saints||1997 to 2010||Xi Theta (1996)|
|Anthony 'Shawn' Andrews||OL||Giants||2004 to 2010||Iota Tau (2002)|
|Rod Smith||WR||Broncos||1995 to 2007||Mu Epsilon (1992)|
|Eric Davis||CB||Lions||1990 to 2002||Eta Mu (1988)|
|Glyn Milburn||RB||Chargers||1993 to 2001||Lambda Nu (1991)|
|Larry Brown||CB||Cowboys||1991 to 1998||Kappa Epsilon (1991)|
|B. Steven Wallace||OT||Chiefs||1986 to 1997||Iota Delta (1983)|
|Greg Lloyd||LB||Panthers||1988 to 1997||Gamma Zeta (1985)|
|Guy McIntyre||OG||Eagles||1984 to 1996||Zeta Iota (1980)|
|Solomon Wilcots||FS||Steelers||1987 to 1992||Beta Theta (1986)|
|Harvey Martin||DE||Cowboys||1973 to 1983||Zeta Upsilon (1973)|
|John Gilliam||WR||Saints||1967 to 1977||Atlanta (GA), 1982|
|Marlin Briscoe||WR||Patriots||1968 to 1976||Alpha Eta (1965)|
|Curtis McClinton, Jr.||HB||Chiefs||1962 to 1969||Mu (1958)|
|John B. Sample, Jr.||DB||Jets||1958 to 1968||Gamma Xi (1956)|
|George Taliaferro||HB||Eagles||1949 to 1955||Alpha (1949)|
|Fredrick "Duke" Slater||OT||Cardinals||1922 to 1931||Gamma (1918)|
The following National Football League head coaches, coordinators, positional coaches, assistants, and trainers are members of Kappa Alpha Psi.
|Michael F. Tomlin||Head||Steelers||2007 to current||Eta Omega||1991|
|James L. Caldwell||Head||Lions||2014 to current||Gamma||1976|
|James L. Caldwell||Off. Coord.||Ravens||2012 to 2013||Gamma||1976|
|Maurice Carthon||Asst. Head||Chiefs||2009 to 2012||Theta Mu||1984|
|James L. Caldwell||Head||Colts||2009 to 2011||Gamma||1976|
|Ron Meeks||Def. Coord.||Panthers||2009 to 2010||Gamma Sigma||1975|
|Ron Meeks||Def. Coord.||Colts||2002 to 2008||Gamma Sigma||1975|
|James L. Caldwell||Asst. Head||Colts||2008||Gamma||1976|
|Michael F. Tomlin||Def. Coord.||Vikings||2006||Eta Omega||1991|
|Maurice Carthon||Off. Coord.||Browns||2005 to 2006||Theta Mu||1984|
|Maurice Carthon||Off. Coord.||Cowboys||2003 to 2004||Theta Mu||1984|
|Maurice Carthon||Off. Coord.||Lions||2001 to 2002||Theta Mu||1984|
|Leon "Tyke" Tolbert||WR Coach||2003 to Present||Nu Iota||1988|
|Jason Tucker||WR Coach||2009 to Present||Kappa Epsilon||1997|
|Earnest A. Byner||RB Coach||1998 to 2013||Eta Psi||1984|
|Ron Meeks||DB Coach||1991 to 2012||Gamma Sigma||1975|
|Maurice Carthon||RB Coach||1994 to 2012||Theta Mu||1984|
|Michael F. Tomlin||DB Coach||1999 to 2005||Eta Omega||1991|
|James L. Caldwell||QB Coach||2002 to 2008||Gamma||1976|
|Fredrick "Rick" Smith||DB Coach||1996 to 2000||Nu||1989|
Front Office Executives
The following league and team executives in the National Football League are members of Kappa Alpha Psi.
National Football League
- Adolpho A. "Tojo" Birch III (Theta Iota, 1986) is a senior vice president with the National Football League, where he is in charge of law and labor policies. His father, Adolpho A. Birch, Jr. (Epsilon, 1951), holds the distinction of being the first African American to serve as chief justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court.
- Guy H. Troupe (Delta Upsilon, 1986) was a senior director for the National Football League, where he was in charge of player development. He held that role from 1997 to 2003, during which time he also launched Troupe21, a human capital management agency that develops post-career opportunities for former NFL and NCAA athletes.
- Fredrick L. "Rick" Smith (Nu, 1989) is an executive vice president and the general manager for the Houston Texans. He was first named general manager in 2006; at age 36, he was the youngest to hold that title in NFL history. The team extended his contract in 2012 and again in 2016, signing him through the 2020 draft.
- Emmett R. Baylor III (Alpha Xi, 1984), a former federal air marshall and special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, has been the director of security for the Houston Texans since 2012. In 2015, he assisted the Houston police in thwarting an extortion attempt against rookie tight end, Mike McFarland.
Los Angeles Rams
- Artis J. Twyman (Hendersonville [TN] Alumni, 1999) is a senior director of communications for the Los Angeles Rams. He joined the team's front office in 2003 and was promoted to senior director in 2012. In 2016, Twyman negotiated the team's appearance on the HBO series Hard Knocks, to spotlight its move from St. Louis to Los Angeles.
- Anthony H. "Tony" Wyllie (Mu Sigma, 1987) has been a senior vice president for communications for the Washington Redskins since 2010. He was previously a vice president for communications for the Houston Texans.
The following referees, umpires and linesmen are members of Kappa Alpha Psi.
- Darryll Lewis (Omaha [NE] Alumni, 1985) was a line judge under Dick Hatnack, Peter Morelli, and Tony Corrente's crews from 2001 through 2014. His officiating career started in 1981 as a line judge for Big Eight Conference games. He remained in the college ranks for 17 years, until an on-field collision that blew out his knee during the 1998 season, forced him into the instant replay booth. It took three years for him to rehabilitate and regain a full range of motion. In 2001, Lewis was hired to officiate at the National Football League level. In 2015, he retired from officiating, and was inducted into the Nebraska Black Hall of Fame. Lewis now serves as a replay booth official for National Football League games.
- Burl Abron Toler (Gamma Alpha, 1950) was the first African American to serve as a referee in the National Football League. He served as a field judge and head linesman throughout his 25-year career, which included officiating Super Bowl XIV in 1980. On April 21, 2008 Toler was inducted into the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame. Both of his sons, Burl Jr. (Gamma Alpha, 1975) and Greg (Gamma Alpha, 1982), are members of Kappa Alpha Psi.
The following sports media personalities are members of Kappa Alpha Psi. See NBA broadcasters for sports personalities who exclusively cover the National Basketball Association.
- Brandon T. Marshall (Lambda Omega, 2005) is a co-anchor on the Showtime series Inside the NFL. He joined the cast at the start of the 2014 season, while he was an active player on the Chicago Bears team. The New York Daily News reported that his second job presented a conflict of interest, prompting a trade to the New York Jets just days before the 2015 NFL draft. The show is taped in New York on Tuesdays, which is the wide receiver's day off.
- Anthony "Bugger" McFarland (St. Petersburg [FL] Alumni, 2000) retired from football in 2007 and co-hosted the Booger & Ryan Show, a sports radio program in Tampa, Florida. In 2014, he joined the SEC Network as a football analyst and signed with ESPN as a part-time guest analyst on the Mike & Mike morning program.
- Augustus Cornelius "Gus" Johnson Jr. (Silver Spring [MD] Alumni, 1992) is a basketball, football, and boxing sportscaster. Formerly employed by CBS Sports, he currently calls play-by-play for Fox Sports, Showtime, and the Big Ten Network. Johnson is known primarily for his enthusiasm and excitement that he shares with the game. In 2014, Johnson called a miracle Hail Mary that allowed the Jacksonville Jaguars to beat the Houston Texans with 0:04 on the clock.
- Louis Holder (Eta Epsilon, 1989) has was hired in 2011 by Redskins.com, the sports broadcasting arm of the Washington Redskins, where hosts a halftime show during home games. He is also an on-air anchor for Comcast SportsNet, a division of NBC Sports.
- Eric W. Davis (Eta Mu, 1988) retired from football in 2002 and began a broadcasting career. He started as a color analyst for the 49ers KPIX-TV in San Francisco, California, and Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. In 2011, he was hired as the color analyst for the 49ers radio broadcasts. He is also the co-host of The Drive with Tierney and Davis on 95.7 The Game in San Francisco, California.
- Solomon Wilcots (Beta Theta, 1986) retired from football in 1992; two years later, he began a broadcasting career as a weekend sports anchor for NBC-affiliate WLWT in Cincinnati, Ohio. He called games for the Cincinati Bengals from 1994 until 2003, and spent three seasons (1998–2000) as a sideline reporter for ESPN's Sunday Night football. In 2000, Wilcots received an Emmy Award in 2000 for sideline reporting. In 2001, he joined CBS, where he is currently a color commentator for AFC division telecasts, alongside Spero Dedes. He is also an analyst on the NFL Network series NFL Total Access.
- Darren M. Sharper (Xi Theta, 1996) retired from football in 2012 and worked briefly for WWL-TV in New Orleans, Louisiana, as an analyst before switching to the NFL Network. On January 18, 2014, Sharper was suspended without pay after two counts of sexual assault were charged against him in Louisiana. A week later, a second woman came forward with a complaint following an initial report. His bail was rescinded, prompting his termination from NFL Network. In March 2015, he pleaded no contest to six counts of sexual assault and rape, while awaiting charges in other states. In August 2016, a federal judge sentenced him to 18 years in prison, resolving the drugging and raping cases of as many as 16 women in four states.
- Bryan E. Burwell (Alpha Phi, 1975) was a sportswriter for the St. Louis Post Dispatch and as on-air talent on CBS Sports 920 in St. Louis, weekday afternoons. He worked as an on-air talent for ESPN Radio, and was featured on ESPN's Jim Rome is Burning and The Sports Reporters. Burwell died on December 4, 2014, after a short battle with cancer.
- Ralph H. Wiley (Beta Phi, 1972) was a columnist for Sports Illustrated and ESPN's Page 2; he also wrote sports articles for GQ, Premiere, and National Geographic. Wiley's career as a television broadcaster included a co-anchor role on ESPN's The Sports Reporters and regular guest appearances on SportsCenter. Wiley died on June 13, 2004, after suffering a heart attack.
Attorneys, Agents, and Consultants
The following sports agents are members of Kappa Alpha Psi.
- Tyrone Thomas (Mu Chi, 1992) is a sports attorney and partner in the Washington, DC office of Mintz Levin. He represents clients on complex legal issues in athletics, and advises National Football League teams on compliance matters. He has served as a legal analyst for the New York Times, ESPN, Sports Illustrated, Sports Business Journal, and the Sports Litigation Alert.
- Nathaniel Davis (Eta Epsilon, 1987) is an attorney in Newark, New Jersey, and a sports agent. He currently represents Iyanosa Ogbevoen (Jersey City [NJ] Alumni, 2016), a former Rutgers University defensive back who is an undrafted free agent.
- Anthony Hilliard (Theta Iota, 1982) is a sports attorney and the North American regional head for Interperformances, an Italian sports marketing agency. He is primarily responsibility for negotiating contracts on behalf of European players who play for NBA, NFL, and MLS teams. He also represents international players who enter FIBA, WTA and LPGA competitions, as well as American players who play for CFL and FIFA teams.
- Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. (Upsilon, 1956) played a pivotal role in establishing the Rooney Rule during the 2002 season. A year earlier, African-American head coaches Tony Dungy and Dennis Green had been fired, prompting Cochran and Cyrus Mehri to author a ground-breaking report on racial disparities amongst coaching ranks. The exposé, released in September 2002, revealed a higher standard imposed on black coaches when compared to less successful white counterparts. One month later, NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue announced the formation of a diversity committee, headed by Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney, to address the league's minority-hiring practices. Within two months, the committee announced a diversity plan, which mandated teams to interview at least one minority candidate prior to selecting a head coach.
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