CHARLOTTE, NC (WNCN) — Johnny Grier, the NFL’s first black umpire who was born in Charlotte in 1947, has died at the age of 74, the league confirmed on Twitter.
NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent Sr. confirmed the news on Twitter on Wednesday.
“Johnny Grier, the @NFL’s first black referee and field judge for Super Bowl XXII, was a trailblazer who paved the way for those in @NFLOfficiating and beyond. Rest in peace Johnny,” wrote Vincent Sr.
Grier played at Super Bowl XXII in 1988, the first championship that also started a black quarterback.
Grier was born in Charlotte and attended the University of the District of Columbia, according to Football Zebras, a website dedicated to NFL officers. Grier joined the NFL in 1981 at the age of 34 after serving several seasons in high school and college.
In addition to his many NFL games, Grier played 15 playoff games, including the 1993 AFC Championship between the Buffalo Bills and the Kansas City Chiefs.
Vincent Sr. and the NFL did not disclose Grier’s cause of death.
Nextstar Media contributed to this article.
https://www.cbs17.com/news/north-carolina-news/nfls-first-black-referee-nc-born-johnny-grier-dies-at-74/ The NFL’s first black umpire, NC native Johnny Grier, dies at age 74