Reactions to the death of Jim Brown, NFL star, social activist and actor

Reactions to the death of Jim Brown, former NFL star, actor and activist:

“To the world, he was an activist, actor, and football star. To our family, he was a loving husband, father, and grandfather. Our hearts are broken.” — Brown’s wife, Monique Brown, on Instagram.

“We lost a hero today. Rest in Paradise to the legend Jim Brown. I hope every Black athlete takes the time to educate themselves about this incredible man and what he did to change all of our lives. We all stand on your shoulders Jim Brown. If you grew up in Northeast Ohio and were Black, Jim Brown was a God. As a kid who loved football, I really just thought of him as the greatest Cleveland Brown to ever play. Then I started my own journey as a professional athlete and realized what he did socially was his true greatness. When I choose to speak out, I always think about Jim Brown. I can only speak because Jim broke down those walls for me.” — NBA star LeBron James, on Instagram.

“I was too young to remember Jim Brown’s playing days, but I knew his legacy. One of the greatest football players ever, he was also an actor and activist — speaking out on civil rights, and pushing other Black athletes to do the same. Our thoughts are with Jim’s wife Monique, his children, and everyone who knew and admired him.” — Former President Barack Obama, on Twitter.

“Jim Brown is a true icon of not just the Cleveland Browns but the entire NFL. He was certainly the greatest to ever put on a Browns uniform and arguably one of the greatest players in NFL history. Jim was one of the reasons the Browns have such a tremendous fan base today. So many people grew up watching him just dominate every time he stepped onto the football field but his countless accolades on the field only tell a small part of his story. His commitment to making a positive impact for all of humanity off the field is what he should also be known for.” — Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam, in a statement.

“Jim Brown was a gifted athlete — one of the most dominant players to ever step on any athletic field — but also a cultural figure who helped promote change. During his nine-year NFL career, which coincided with the civil rights movement here at home, he became a forerunner and role model for athletes being involved in social initiatives outside their sport.” — NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, in a statement.

“Jim Brown was one of the best football and lacrosse players of all time. He used professional sports as a platform to help others, rallied for social justice before it was popular and became a friend to me in helping lead players to stick together. I will miss my friend.” — NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith, on Twitter.

“Although it’s been 58 years since Jim Brown played his final NFL game, his reputation as one of the most dynamic players to ever step on a football field transcends generations.” — The Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Twitter account.

“My heart aches at this very moment after hearing of the passing of Jim Brown. He is and was a true legend in sports and in the community using his platform to help others. Thanks King.” — Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith, on Twitter.

“You can’t underestimate the impact Jim Brown had on the NFL. He will be greatly missed. Additionally, his generosity and friendship with my family is a gift that we will always treasure. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Brown Family & Browns fans at this time.” — Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders, on Twitter.

“There isn’t a man who played running back in the NFL who didn’t see Jim Brown as an iconic legend on and off the field. Rest easy, my brother.” — Hall of Fame running back Tony Dorsett, on Twitter.

“Jim Brown, My friend and idol, I’ll miss you forever. We Will always be there for Monique and kids. Till we meet again at the running back table in heaven. I love you brother.” — Hall of Fame running back Thurman Thomas, on Twitter.

“My dad — I don’t even think there was a No. 2 (favorite player). It was just Jim Brown. … I mean, everybody knows who Jim Brown is, whether it’s from football or acting or being an activist. He just did so many good things.” — Cleveland Guardians manager Terry Francona.

“Maybe the greatest football player ever. Certainly the most impactful athlete of all time. RIP the legend Jim Brown.” — former Browns offensive tackle Joe Thomas, who’s being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August.

“Just saw the news about Jim Brown passing away. After my pops passed, Jim became an important father figure in my life. He was always there for me. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family.” — Jarrett Payton, son of Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton, on Twitter.

“Legend. Icon. 44. There will be only one Jim Brown. We’re saddened to have lost the greatest of all time today. Our thoughts are with the Brown family, his friends and loved ones.” — Syracuse football’s Twitter account.

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