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Ex-Packer Emery Barnes Dies at 68

July 8, 1998 GMT

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) _ Emery Oakland Barnes, who played for the Green Bay Packers and later become the first black to serve as speaker of the British Columbia parliament, has died of cancer. He was 68.

Barnes, an American by birth and Canadian by choice, died July 1 _ Canada Day _ in a British Columbia hospital.

At the University of Oregon, where he earned a bachelor of science degree in 1954, he continued to excel as an athlete. He tied with Walter Davis of Texas A&M for the NCAA title in the high jump in 1952 with a leap of 6 feet, 9 3/4 inches, earning an alternate spot on the U.S. Olympic team.

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He also was captain of the Oregon football team and was an all-conference defensive end.

Barnes was selected 18th overall in the 1954 NFL draft by the Green Bay Packers. He joined the team in 1956 after brief service in the U.S. Army.

He later said that the racism toward a Packers teammate was the final straw that made him turn to Canada. In 1957, he continued his career in the Canadian Football League.

He retired from professional football after the British Columbia Lions won the 1964 Grey Cup.

His political career took off in 1972 when he won a seat in British Columbia’s parliament on the second try.

He was appointed deputy speaker in 1991 and elected speaker three years later.

Barnes was inducted into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame and the British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame in 1986.