Gary Burley, a former Cincinnati Bengals player, is not too happy to see the San Francisco 49ers playing in another Super Bowl. After all, it was the 49ers who beat his team in Super Bowl 16. However, he is hoping for a great game when they go up against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Despite his feelings about the 49ers, Burley has shifted his focus to uplifting the stories of persevering African American football pioneers through education. He believes that football is more than just a sport – it teaches important life skills. Along with Donna Francavilla and friend Ralph Brooks, he has written “Glory: The Struggle for Yards,” which tells the stories of five Black men who broke barriers in football’s early days.
The book covers stories of men like Burl Toler, the NFL’s first Black referee, and Charles Follis, who was the first African American to be paid to play football in the US. The authors chose two well-known stories and two lesser-known ones to create a diverse and compelling narrative.
For Burley, being an author is just another achievement in a life that already includes playing in the Super Bowl. While he may have won that game, he believes falling in love with his wife and getting married was an even greater experience.