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Eller, Page on Sport's Role in Breaking Barriers

Posted Feb 9, 2016

An average of 111.9 million television viewers watched Super Bowl 50, making the game the third-most-watched broadcast in the U.S.

Many gathered with friends or family to watch the game in an illustration of how sport can bring people together.

An NFL locker room is a collection of individuals from multiple walks of life and different parts of the country who have been brought together to create one force.

Hall of Famers Carl Eller and Alan Page said that togetherness brought by sport can further extend to remove barriers.

“The idea of team says a lot,” Eller said during a Black History Month event hosted by the Vikings. “By playing together or being together and having to cooperate together as a team, one of the great things about the Minnesota Vikings is I felt the atmosphere that was created was a friendly one and a welcoming one, regardless of your color or race. I know it’s a lot better today.”

Page, who also attended the event, said in a prior interview with WCCO’s Mark Rosen that sport provides an equal opportunity on the field. He hopes that other barriers that remain outside of sport will be removed.

“Getting to know people, working with them, spending time with them, that’s how barriers get broken down, and clearly sport does that,” Page said. “Where there’s opportunity, sport has given an equal opportunity, those barriers have come down at least on the field. I’m not as convinced that they’ve come down as much as they should off the field but these issues have been around for centuries and they’re not going to go away overnight.

“It seems to me that sport, whatever the sport is, brings people together so that they get to know each other,” Page continued. “I think that goes a long way toward eliminating some of the problems we’ve seen.”