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Watch “Unsung Heroes: Football and the Polynesian Athlete”

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Exploring the unique relationship between Polynesians and the game of football.

<p zoompage-fontsize="15" style="">College Football Playoff National Championship Presented By AT&amp;T - Alabama v Clemson

Don’t waste this failure, Tua

Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Let’s talk about Polynesians and American football. Because they’re cool.

Just ask BYU or Hawaii or the P12, who have long dominated Samoan and Tongan and Fijian and Hawaiian recruits.

Or, hey, ask the MONSTAR himself, Alabama’s Jesse Williams (bet you thought I was going with Tua, right?):

<p zoompage-fontsize="15" style="">Kent State v Alabama

He was my BFF

Photo by Greg McWilliams/Getty Images

But, besides adding valuable size, skill, warrior ethos, and inscrutable ‘okina and kahako to Alabama’s roster, there is also the the Polynesian Bowl — where six Alabama commits and three ‘Bama NSD targets are expected to play, including Ishmael Sophsher and Henry To’oto’o. Links to stream etc. above.

And, that dovetails nicely into a wonderful documentary on Polynesians in American football that was just released by the National Football Foundation, through their Football Matters initiatives:

Unsung Heroes: Football and the Polynesian Athlete, which explores the unique relationship between Polynesians and the game of football. Football Matters was inspired by the fact that Polynesian culture centers around the importance of family, and wanted to share the journey many Polynesians have made from the Islands in search of new opportunity and to celebrate all they have contributed to the country’s most popular sport.

Last week we shared the teaser trailer (here, ICYMI.) And, yesterday, the full documentary for Unsung Heroes went live on NFF’s site and was cross-posted for social media distribution.

Here are the complete links for you. I cannot recommend it enough. Bon appetit.

What else are you going to do? It’s football. It’s a bunch of good stories. And, with Alabama’s increased recruiting focus on the West Coast, it wouldn’t hurt to see where a lot of these kids are coming from. Derrick Henry’s rough childhood in Yulee we can all envision. Perhaps not so much a kid in Puna trying to catch the eye of Utah State...or Alabama.

Roll Nalu, Roll