Amazon MGM Studios Sets Pic On Kenny Washington, Rams Running Back Who Broke The NFL Color Barrier With 1946 Contract; La Monte Edwards Scripting

EXCLUSIVE: Amazon MGM Studios has begun development on a Untitled Kenny Washington film about the triumphs and hardships of the first Black NFL player leading up to his professional debut with the Los Angeles Rams. La Monte Edwards is penning the script. Adam Scott Epstein  will produce through his Comet Company banner, Cottrell B. Guidry producing through his Stay Cool Productions Banner and Evan Silverberg, Darin Friedman and Guymon Casady producing through Entertainment 360. Ryan Rottman, Nate Raabe and New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers exec producing through their Awkward Handshake production company.

Washington’s story is set a year before Jackie Robinson revolutionized baseball, where his UCLA teammate, LA Rams running back Kenny Washington shattered the NFL’s color barrier, altering the course of sports history and igniting the civil rights movement. Despite overcoming five knee surgeries, Washington played three seasons in the NFL, averaging 6.1 yards per carry and still holds the Rams’ record for the longest run from scrimmage with a 92-yard burst in 1947. After being shunned by the NFL because he was black, the All-American Washington joined the LAPD and played minor league football for the Hollywood Bears on weekends.

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When the Cleveland Rams relocated to Los Angeles in 1946 and wanted to play at the publicly owned LA Memorial Coliseum, Washington along with the help of LA Sentinel sports writer, Halley Harding, and other black journalists campaigned for Washington to get a tryout. Despite facing a backlash from the other NFL owners to uphold the unwritten ban on black players, the Rams saw Washington’s electric talent on the field, and strength, courage and perseverance off the field and signed him. As other NFL teams followed suit and also opened their rosters to players of any color, the NFL quickly grew and today has become the country’s most popular and profitable professional sport.

The rights to Washington’s story were procured by Guidry and Adam Scott Epstein from Kenny Washington’s daughter and grandchildren, who maintain a strong relationship with the Los Angeles Rams.

After spending two seasons in post-production on Dick Wolf’s NBC hit show Chicago Med, Edwards transitioned to writing and was selected by EP/showrunner Gary Lennon (Euphoria, Power) to join his team on Starz’s Power Book IV: Force. While currently working on his second season of Force, Edwards is also developing his original family crime drama American Savage with CBS Studios and Uzo Aduba (Orange is the New Black) and has partnered with Entertainment 360 and Propagate to create an Entourage-style comedy set in the sports world.

Edwards is represented by Entertainment360 and Jackoway Austen Tyerman Wertheimer Mandelbaum Morris Bernstein Trattner Auerbach Hynick Jaime LeVine Sample & Klein.

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