MLB Legend Reggie Jackson Says Bear Bryant Once Called Him A Racial Slur As A Compliment

14x MLB All-Star Reggie Jackson (1967-87) has recently spoken out about the racism that he experienced throughout his playing career. Notably, he told a story about University of Alabama coach (1958 to 1982), Bear Bryant, who many consider one of the greatest college football coaches of all time.

This story also was referenced during a 1987 Sports Illustrated interview.

"It was while I was in Birmingham that I met Bear Bryant. His son was the general manager of the ball club. Bryant told me I was 'the kind of n..... boy' they needed to show the people in his state that we would be good athletes and be good for his school."

Considering that point in time in history, Jackson noted that Bryant didn't mean anything hateful by the statement.

"He said it as a compliment. He said it with his arm around me. Whenever he came to New York, he always made it a point to come see me, and I enjoyed visiting with him. He meant no harm. That's the way it was."

Jackson was also interviewed while making an appearance at Rickwood Field last week, as he was paying tribute to the late-great Willie Mays, who made his professional baseball debut at that stadium in 1951.

While talking with the MLB on Fox broadcasting crew, Jackson told stories from back in the day, which highlighted the discrimination that was prevalent in society during that time period.

"The racism when I played here, the difficulty of going through different places where we traveled ... I wouldn't wish it on anybody," Jackson said.

"I would walk into restaurants, they would point at me and say 'that n——- can't eat here.'" Jackson said. "I would go to a hotel, and they'd say 'that n——- can't stay here.' We went to [the A's owner at the time] Charlie Finley's country club for a welcome-home dinner, and they pointed me out with the n-word, 'he can't come in here ...'"

Jackson shouted out his teammates who were there for him during the troubling times.

"Had it not been for Rollie Fingers, Johnny McNamara, Dave Duncan, Joe and Sharron Rudy, I slept on their couch three or four nights a week for about a month and a half. Finally, they threatened to burn our apartment complex down unless I got out. I wouldn't wish it on anybody."

Jackson overcame the adversity off the field, as he put up historic numbers that have since cemented him as a legendary Hall of Fame player.

Otherwise known as Mr. October, for his clutch hitting in the postseason, the Oakland A's/New York Yankees/California Angels star hit 563 career home runs, which ranks him 14th on the all-time MLB home run list.

Related: Reggie Jackson's '539-Foot' HR Is All-Star Game History