Franco Harris: All American

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You might not know about Franco Harris. You might wonder why he’s so unhappy, like many of us are, with the NFL’s anti-American antics lately. But his wonderful heritage tells a lot about why my favorite running back respects America.


His dad was an Army soldier. His dad met his mom in Italy during World War II. They married and returned to New Jersey.

[Read this fantastic 1996 Baltimore Sun biography of Franco Harris.]

Franco’s dad stayed in the Army after the war. To make ends meet, the elder Harris took on several part-time jobs.

Franco’s immigrant mother, Gina, also worked. She worked in school cafeterias. She even started a business importing Italian coffins.

The Harrises raised Franco on work and love of country.

Despite being half black, half Italian, the son of an immigrant, in an era of racial tension, segregation, and social turmoil, Franco Harris kept is focus on the beautiful values Cad and Gina Harris instilled in their son.

** Faith ** Work ** Country ** Education

Those were the values Harris grew up with. They’re the values so absent from the NFL today.

Football and the USA need fewer Kaepernicks and more Francos.

[caption id=“attachment_24500” align=“alignnone” width=“641”]

The great Franco Harris (32) rushes toward the end zone against the same old Rams, following blocks of Vietnam veteran Rocky Bleier (20)[/caption]