Originally posted January 24, 2017.
“What has he done to call attention to Chicago and deal a possible solution?” legendary NFL running back Jim Brown asks about President Obama in an excellent Saturday interview with the WSJ’s Allysia Finley. Mr. Brown was on hand Friday at President Trump’s Inauguration to demonstrate his support for the new president. It was a huge step in the right direction in making America great again. One of the many things that separates celebrity from the average person is the size of their Rolodex. They can make people connect. It’s a most valuable form of social currency:
Consider: Mr. Zoldan—who raised money for Mrs. Clinton and has supported the Amer-I-Can program in Cleveland—connected Mr. Brown with Mr. Scott, a close friend of the president. The Cleveland pastor helped arrange Mr. Brown’s meeting last month with Mr. Trump. While in New York, Mr. Brown also met with Youngstown native Omarosa Manigault, a former contestant on “The Apprentice” who’s leading the White House’s community outreach. Mr. Trump’s celebrity could work in mysterious ways.
Most important, Mr. Brown hopes President Trump will shine a public spotlight on a problem his predecessor neglected. While President Obama was a “great image” and role model for black people, Mr. Brown says, urban violence persists: “What has he done to call attention to Chicago and deal a possible solution?”
He’s also optimistic that the new president could be a democratic force for good: “We were a country that has been snoozing. Now we’re alert. Whether it’s negative or positive, energy has risen. People are engaged. They’re studying. They’re thinking more. And I think that’s good. And you can’t get that without somebody being bold enough to say things people don’t agree with.”
Speaking of which, he picks the New England Patriots to win the Super Bowl. Which raises another celebrity connection—Messrs. Brown and Trump are both friends with Patriots coach Bill Belichick. Even in retirement, Mr. Brown has kept one hand on the pigskin. As a special adviser for his old team, he has taken on another sizable reclamation project—making the Cleveland Browns great again.
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