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Jaguars players, season ticket members enjoy screening


JACKSONVILLE – JAGS365 members mingled with players and cheerleaders and received a history lesson Tuesday evening.

The "Fanatical Fan" group gained access to a special premiere of the Epix original documentary "Forgotten Four: The Integration of Pro Football" at the Cinemark Tinseltown theater on the Southside. 

Defensive end Ryan Davis, running back Toby Gerhart, defensive tackle Ziggy Hood, linebacker LaRoy Reynolds and running back Jordan Todman attended the screening on the players' day off, and mingled with fans before and after the show.

"The story is something I've never learned about before today," Davis said. "To come here and watch it, and watch the humility and restraint these guys displayed in order for a greater day to come was wonderful.

"It definitely struck a nerve with me."

"Forgotten Four" tells the stories of Kenny Washington, Woody Strode, Marion Motley and Bill Willis, the first four African-American players to break the color barrier in pro football in 1946, a year before Jackie Robinson broke baseball's color line in 1947.

Robinson, Strode and Washington all played on the same football team at UCLA in 1939.

For Gerhart, the film shows how sports can help others overcome barriers. 

"When they (Washington, Strode, Motley and Willis) were out there on the field at times people loved them and they were blind to race and blind to color, but when they got off the field they weren't allowed to celebrate with their teammates, go to restaurants and have their own lives," Gerhart said. "It also struck a chord when the team became segregated. Some guys would stomp their hands, and then you'd see the other side where guys said, 'Who's talking to you, let me take care of them.'

"I think that's the power of sports, the power of teammates."

The film "Forgotten Four: The Integration of Pro Football" premieres Tuesday, September 23 at 8 p.m. on Epix.

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