Johnny D. Bright (June 11, 1930 – December 14, 1983) was a professional Canadian football player in the Canadian Football League. He played college football at Drake University. He is a member of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, the National Football Foundation's College Football Hall of Fame, the Missouri Valley Conference Hall of Fame, the Edmonton Eskimos Wall of Honour, the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame, and the Des Moines Register's Iowa Sports Hall of Fame.
In 1951, Bright was named a First Team College Football All-American, and was awarded the Nils V. "Swede" Nelson Sportsmanship Award. In 1969, Bright was named Drake University's greatest football player of all time. Bright is the only Drake football player to have his jersey number (No. 43) retired by the school, and in June 2006, received honorable mention from ESPN.com senior writer Ivan Maisel as one of the best college football players to ever wear No. 43. In February 2006, the football field at Drake Stadium, in Des Moines, Iowa, was named in his honor. In November 2006, Bright was voted one of the CFL's Top 50 players (No. 19) of the league's modern era by Canadian sports network TSN.
In addition to his outstanding professional and college football careers, Bright is perhaps best known for his role as the victim of an intentional, most likely racially motivated, on-field assault by an opposing college football player from Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma State University) on October 20, 1951, that was captured in a widely disseminated and Pulitzer Prize winning photo sequence, and eventually came to be known as the "Johnny Bright Incident."
By Dean Hanley
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