19 Lies in Disney’s “Remember the Titans”

Remember the Titans?
Denzel Washington Stars In "Remember The Titans." (Photo By Getty Images)

I wrote an article a while back about the movie Rudy, which detailed the made-up facts and characters in the movies. After I wrote the Rudy article, Grueling Truth content editor/podcaster Os Davis requested a write-up of Remember the Titans. He said that if I thought Rudy was bad, I would be surprised to discover that Remember the Titans was even worse!

It took about five minutes of research to find what Os was talking about, and Remember the Titans turns out to be another movie filled with outright lies.

Though I know that all “Based on a True Story” movies embellish the facts to improve the script, I think it is wrong when people that never existed and storylines that never happened are added.

Today, here’s the Grueling Truth on 19 lies in Remember the Titans.

1) Was T.C. Williams High School integrated in 1971?
NO, T.C. Williams High was integrated in 1965. Now, remember a large part of this movie was about the integration of the school in 1971 and how the team came together, breaking through racial strife – simply not true.

2) Was there racial tension on the team?
NO. In the last ten years, many players have come out and told different media outlets that the racial tension portrayed in Remember the Titans did not exist. Recall that the school had been integrated a full six years before this team even played a game.

In a Washington Post article, Bill Yoast’s friend Patrick Welsh stated on the movie’s position on the racial tension at the school that “My friend Bill Yoast … told me Disney had taken liberties with the facts, suggesting an overheated atmosphere of racial animosities and fears at the school and in the community that just hadn’t existed.”

3) Were all the schools the Titans faced white?
NO, all the schools in the conference had already been integrated.

4) Did Coach Herman Boone toss a banana to rival Coach Tyrell at the end of a game?
NO, this never happened. There was no Coach Tyrell to even toss a banana to, as he was also entirely made up.

5) Was Gerry Bertier’s girlfriend Emma based on a real person?
NO, she was not a real person. Similar to how the movie Rudy created Rudy’s brother, Remember the Titans was supplemented with made-up characters.

6) Did Herman Boone wake the team up at 3 a.m. and make them run to the Gettysburg Cemetery?
NO. The T.C. Williams team did train at Gettysburg College, but there appears to have been no such run to the Gettysburg battlefield at any time of day.

7) Did Gerry Bertier and Julius Campbell become best friends in real life?
This one’s partially true; Bertier and Campbell were friends in real life, just like many other players became friends. To call them “best” friends may be a stretch, but they were friends at least…

8) Was Ronnie “Sunshine” Bass a long-haired hippie from California?
Bass did come from California, but to portray him as a hippie is a bit of an exaggeration.” I was never quite like that,” Bass told the Greenville (S.C.) News. “But that’s Hollywood. I’ll say for the record my hair was never that long.” A lot of his teammates had long hair, including Gary Bertier.

9) Did protesters stand outside of T.C. Williams on the first day of school?
Of course not! The school had already been integrated six years earlier, and even when the desegregation came, the racial tension just never existed to the extent the movie portrayed.

10) Did a referees’ plot to ensure that the Titans would lose a game exist?
NEVER. All the teams that Williams High played were integrated, so there is no actual proof this ever happened.

11) Is the part about Coach Yoast not making the Virginia High School Hall of Fame accurate?
YES, but the only reason it is true is that Virginia didn’t have a high school hall of fame at that time!

12) Was Coach Yoast’s daughter Sheryl a football fanatic as portrayed to be in the film?
NO! According to coach Yoast, the closest thing I could find to her football fanaticism was that she did attend the games.

13) Did Coach Yoast’s daughter Sheryl go to Coach Boone’s house to play with his daughter?
NO, she never went to Coach Boone’s house and, of course, never watched a game film with him.

14) In real life, was Sheryl Yoast, an only child who lived with her father?
NO. In actuality, Sheryl Yoast lived with her mother and *three* sisters! The real Sheryl Yoast sadly passed away due to a heart condition in 1996.

15) Did the racial incident in the restaurant happen?
NO. Petey and Ronnie were never refused service at a restaurant – another made-up incident.

16) Did the T.C. Williams Titans ever dance on the field during warmups like in the movie?
NO, it never happened.

17) Were the Titans often the underdogs, as the film implies?
NO, not even close! The Titans were almost always heavy favorites and outscored opponents by a whopping 338-38. That included nine shutouts and a 27-0 state championship game win.

18) Was Gerry Bertier paralyzed in a car accident before the championship game?
Partially true: Bertier was paralyzed in a car accident, but the accident happened *after* the season – and he played in the state title game.

19) How many characters in Remember the Titans are fictional?
In addition to the made-up characters already mentioned, the player’s Alan Bosley and Ray Budds, are pure fiction. In training camp, and again during the season, Budds intentionally misses blocks because he wants his black teammates to be taken down. Bertier chews him out for this and later has Ray kicked off the team. Thus, with Budds utterly non-existent in reality, Remember the Titans has an entirely fictional incident as one of its key moments.

This movie is just another in a long line of Disney’s B.S. scripts seeking to profit from racism. Thankfully, Remember the Titans shows us that racial tensions dissolve immediately when a diverse football team brings home the state championship. The truth behind the events depicted in the film isn’t nearly as incendiary as what was produced for mass consumption by the Walt Disney film studio.

Why does Disney do this? The Mouse is merely the largest of the mass media, which as a whole thrives on dividing people behind racial lines. Let’s face it: Racism sells, and it sold many tickets to Remember the Titans. Unfortunately, the entire community behind T.C. Williams High School looks bad because Disney executives want to make hate profitable.

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