May 19, 2023 - Sports

Jim Brown, football legend and activist, dead at 87

Jim Brown set career marks in yards and touchdowns in just nine seasons with the Cleveland Browns. Photo: Focus on Sport/Getty Images

Football legend Jim Brown has died at the age of 87.

Driving the news: Brown's wife confirmed that he died at his Los Angeles home on Thursday.

  • "To the world he was an activist, actor, and football star," Monique Brown wrote in a social media post. "To our family, he was a loving and wonderful husband, father, and grandfather. Our hearts are broken."

Why it matters: Brown is considered one of the greatest athletes in sports history and was a prominent civil rights activist.

  • He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1995.

By the numbers: Brown was a four-sport athlete in college before spending nine seasons as a running back for the Cleveland Browns.

  • He led the team to an NFL Championship in 1964 and earned three most valuable player awards while setting all-time marks for career rushing yards and touchdowns.
  • Brown retired abruptly in 1966 at the age of 30 to focus on a movie career and activism.

In between the lines: Brown took part in the famous "Ali Summit" of 1967 alongside Muhammad Ali, Bill Russell and Kareem Abdul Jabbar in support of Ali refusing to serve in the military during the Vietnam War.

  • Brown continued his activism over the decades, working with inner-city youth and former convicts and campaigning for President Obama.

Yes, but: Some of Brown's views proved controversial, including his support of Donald Trump and opposition to NFL player Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem.

What they're saying: "On behalf of the entire NFL family, we extend our condolences to Monique and their family," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said 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."
Go deeper