Latinos in Sports, A Tribute to Danny Villanueva, Sr.


The Rose Bowl Institute host an inperson one hour panel discussion as part of the The Rose Bowl Institute’s series of Dialogues on Race and Sports, addressing Latinos in Football, and a tribute to the life and impact of Los Angeles Rams and Dallas Cowboys kicker Danny Villanueva, Sr. as an athlete, business leader and civic leader in the local community.

This panel in the Race and Sports series was a one hour moderated discussion among Danny Villanueva Sr’s son, Danny Villanueva Jr.; Former News Anchor, Univision and Author, Maria Elena Salinas; Mayor of Pasadena, Mayor Victor Gordo; and former NFL Football player, Luis Zendejas.

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Danny Villanueva, a record-holding kicker and league-leading punter for the Los Angeles Rams and Dallas Cowboys, was a pioneering Mexican-American athlete, media executive and businessman, who excelled on the field and off. He was an initial inductee in the National Hispanic Hall of Fame and, as a leader and part owner of the precursor to Univision television network, was also inducted into the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences’ Management Hall of Fame. He launched the annual Navidad in el Barrio telethon on his KMEX-TV and the Fiesta Broadway Cinco de Mayo celebration for Los Angeles.

Players are heroes whose opinions are seen and valued by their fans, especially young ones. League and team policies matter to the society at large as sports are highly visible, involve large populations, and have important symbolism. Fan behavior can also have an impact on the larger populace.

“May the best team win.” Because teams have a common purpose to win, they need to strive for the best players regardless of race, ethnicity, background or sexual preference. It means inclusion of all as players, coaches, fans or owners. It means respecting the game, teammates and opponents. It means playing fairly and treating players equitably.

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