For Jael Ealey Richardson, keeping the story of her football-playing father’s struggle for equality alive was her first priority while writing her book, The Stone Thrower.
Her father, Chuck Ealey, is widely considered one of the best quarterbacks in CFL history. He set the college football record for having the most wins by a quarterback and then went on to win a Grey Cup with the Hamilton Tiger Cats.
But, even with all of the accomplishments he made on the field, Ealey always found resistance when it came to others accepting that he was a black quarterback, Richardson told Centennial College students on the Carlaw Avenue campus on Feb. 6.
When her father would apply for a full scholarship, all of the coaches would try to change his position, not trusting that a black quarterback could run a team, she said.
“My dad had won ever single one of his high school football games, but at the end of his high school years, not a single team offered him a scholarship to play quarterback,” she said. “This was because he was black.”
That was until a coach at the University of Toledo saw this young man play. Ealey was then offered a full scholarship at the university and he never lost a game in his college career.
Robinson spoke about the similar struggles she faced when trying to get the book about her father’s life published.
“ This is how my dad felt, I want this and everything less I’m willing to turn down. All or nothing.”