Why was there a Negro League in baseball, yet Pro Football never made such a distinction. They were a part of professional football from the early formative years of the league.

Anyone know the reason or can offer an explanation?

Stefan Jovanovich corrects: 

Not true. Black-skinned people were not allowed to play in professional football until after WW II. The pre-War heroes of professional football - Red Grange, Bronco Nagurski, Don Hutson, Sammy Baugh– were all "white" (sic). Jim Thorpe was given a pass only because of the odd status given Indians. The irony of all this is that the first professional sport - baseball– began as an "integrated" (sic) one; the "color barrier" was erected legislatively, first at the state level in the South and then nationally as part of Wilsonian "progress". As late as the 1880s black players were part of professional teams in the North. The ultimate proof of how much "racism" (sic) is a product of the higher mind that brought us universal education is that hockey in Canada remained without a color barrier until nearly 1890s. It was only with the rise of the Cecil Rhodes approach to trade that the descendants of the runaway slaves in the Maritimes were banned from being on the same ice with properly pale players.

Ralph Vince replies: 


My Grandad (who played against Thorpe) played with a number of Negro players in the early 1920s– I had lengthy discussions with him and his recollection was not only firsthand– there is a Negro player who was on his team who is in the Pro Football hall of Fame.


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