Letters: Proud Jews in Football

Closeup of letters on writing desk at home
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I noticed the Feb. 9 piece about “Hebrew in the Huddle: American Football Kicks Off Another Season in Israel,” and it reminded me of the story that Harris Barton, an All-Pro offensive tackle, told from his days with the San Francisco 49ers.

Barton, a 2009 inductee into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, broke from the huddle and lined up next to tight end John Frank (a 2023 IJSHOF inductee) who could not, for the moment, recall the count. Barton blurted out, “go on shnaim” so that his teammate could start the play on two. Barton related that he wasn’t concerned about the other team knowing the count, as not too many of them spoke Hebrew!

On another occasion, Ronnie Lott, a 49ers defensive back, scored a touchdown and, when he spiked the ball, he blurted out “Shabbat Shalom,” which he learned from Barton.
While Lott is not Jewish, Barton and Frank are very proud and identified Jews.

Jed Margolis, President of the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, Dresher


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