He did that by making Paul Warfield and Bob Griese roommates.
Made sense. Warfield was a great receiver and Griese was a great quarterback.
Sounds simple today. It wasn't.
Morris came to Miami in 1969 from West Texas State, an SEC talent playing at a small school because most of the SEC teams banned black players. West Texas was no racial haven either. He liked that the Dolphins drafted him because not only was Miami warmer in the winter but less segregated.
But the Dolphins were segregated.
When I came in, I noticed we had segregated rooming. It was like Archie Bunker said: “Because whites got to be with whites, and coloreds got to be with coloreds.” That’s what we had then.
So I wrote about this. One day I was in the shower, and I noticed that the white dudes, their water’s coming out like Niagara Falls. And I went over and saw the black dudes, and their water’s trickling like it’s coming out the side of a mountain.
So I went over there and started washing myself. These guys went, “Hey rookie, what are you doing?” I said, “I’m taking a shower, just like you.” One said, “What are you doing? You’re supposed to be …” I said, “No I’m not. I’m supposed to be right here, taking a shower. Because I just came off the same practice field you did. And I got the same dirt on me that you do. And I’m washing it off the same way you are.”
These were my teammates but they didn’t know me. And I really didn’t know them. So we had these expectations of having to be a certain way because I was black, or because I wasn’t white.Everybody in the enlightened 21st century knows this is bad.
But do we know why it is bad?
Because it is counterproductive. It is a team sport. Coaches bring players together. Not Miami. Morris said then-Coach George Wilson cut a very good black player because his wife was white. Wilson's goal was to go 7-7. The team went 3-10-1.
That was 1969.
Shula came in the next year. His goal was to win the Super Bowl. Thus he paired the star black player and the star white player as roommates. He was turning a group of players into a team.
Seems simple today. But my gosh, how hard it was to see it then.
I wonder what will be obvious tomorrow that we fail to see today?
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