Michael honors his fellow black athletes

In honor of Black History Month, Michael takes a look at some of the great black athletes that paved the way for him.
4:41 | 02/07/19

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Transcript for Michael honors his fellow black athletes
And as you know, or at least I hope you do, February is black history month. So, right now, want to taktime to reflect along with our wonderful "Gma" digital team. I had the opportunity to look back at some of the most important African-American athletes who paved the way for people like me to succeed. Both on and off the football field. Including some members of my own family. Take a look. As a little boy, of course, I dreamed of being a football player. I never imagined the name Michael strauld be printed on the back of a New York giants' Jersey or that that little kid would make to it the hall of fame. But I realize I owe so much of all that's come to me to the people that came before me. The ones who paved the paths for dreams like mine to come true. Athletes like Frederick "Fritz" Pollard. Who broke through racial barriers to become the first African-American to play in the rose bowl. The first black coach in the NFL. All-Americans like Ernie Davis. The first black man to win a Heisman trophy in 1962 while playing for Syracuse university. Sportscasting legends like Stuart Scott, who made his first appearance on ESPN in 1993. His distinctive style. His sound, and his memorable boo-yah resonated with so many Americans. Icons like Jackie Robinson. The first African-American to play in major league baseball. Opening the door for people of color to compete professionally if sports. And of course, I wouldn't be here without my own family. My uncle art. As I call him, uncle ray. He took me in. He taught me the game of football. He was no beginner to the game of football himself. He played for the Atlanta falcons for two years. If not for my uncle ray, I'm pretty sure I would not be sitting here in front of you today. When you think about Fritz Pollard. You think about Jackie Robinson. You think about Ernie Davis -- the trailblazers who did things that had never been done. The things they had to endure to be on the field, to participate in sports, the anger that they had to be in the midst of but remain calm is just a great lesson that sometimes -- the best way to handle things is to just be you. I want to salute all of these sports giants. And so many others who came before me. And I have to wish everybody a happy black history month. Michael, you spoke about so many influential fures. Was there someone that influenced you most of all? I'm fortunate to have my uncle ray. I'm just fortunate to have, you know, my parents. My mom, my dad. And everyone that I mentioned in the piece, of course. A lot of others that I didn't have time to mention. But for me, it was great to have a family and parents who were great examples every day right there every day in my face. And allow me to have people from afar that contributed to everything, as well. I want to wish everybody happy black history month. Very important to remember where you came from, you know? Yeah. And yesterday, I did this incredible thing with jemele hill. As part of black htory month. There's a lot of controversial topics she's covered, ranging from Colin Kaepernick to president trump. Also Lebron James' new documentary, "Shut up and dribble." She had some words of wisdom yesterday. I think it will resonate with a lot of people out there. Take a look. The reasons why I think it's felt like such a struggle in dismantling racism is that it's been positioned and the perception is that it's only one group's problem. Racism is something that impacts everybody. Mm-hmm. And I think we're stuck sometimes in this holding pattern because the people who didn't create it, who are most burdened by it, most vulnerable to it, have also been tasked with solving it. It cannot work that way. I would just hope that ending racism is something we can all agree on. I wish it weren't at profitable as it is to some people. Because maybe there would be a little less resistance. But I think you will see a level of unity once people understand that this is a problem that infects our society and impacts all of us. It's not just the black people's problems. Not just the brown people's problems. It's everybody's problem. Very well said. Yeah. Very well said by jem very interesting. Very, very interesting conversation with her yesterday. It is a black speakers' series. For black history month. I moderated the panel between us two. It's interesting to see her opinions on a lot of different things because she's known to be a controversial -- but at the same time, she's really bright. She knows what she's talking

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