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Johnny Unitas' sons divided on casting of Joe Flacco as their dad

April 08, 2013|By Chuck Schilken
  • Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco has signed on to play Baltimore Colts legend Johnny Unitas in the football scenes of a movie.
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco has signed on to play Baltimore… (Christian Petersen / Getty…)

John Unitas Jr. is not happy with his half-brother's choice of Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco to play their father, Baltimore Colts legend Johnny Unitas, in the football scenes of the upcoming biopic "Unitas We Stand."

In an interview with USA Today, John Unitas Jr. called Flacco "a goofball" and said a better choice to play his late father would be a modern-day legend who played many years for the Indianapolis Colts.

"If you want a quarterback, go with Peyton Manning," said John Unitas Jr., one of five children from Johnny Unitas' first marriage. "My father was just like that. This is a joke."

The choice of Flacco is not the only thing that has gotten under John Unitas Jr.'s skin about the project. He is against the movie in general, as well as the book it is based on -- "Johnny U: The Life and Times of Johnny Unitas," by Tom Callahan.

And he's apparently not too fond of Joe Unitas, one of three children from the iconic quarterback's second marriage and a co-producer and co-screenwriter of the movie. John Unitas Jr. said he's considering legal action against his half-brother if he profits from their father's name.

"It is awful. The guy's a turd," John Unitas Jr. said.

According to USA Today, John Unitas Jr.'s son, former Villanova quarterback J.C. Unitas, also spoke out against the choice of Flacco.

"If you want a real movie, hire a real actor," he wrote on Facebook. "My grandfather and his legacy deserves only the best, and this is not it."

Joe Unitas responded with a letter to the Baltimore Sun, which initially interviewed him about the choice of Flacco to portray his father on the football field. After apologizing to Flacco and the Ravens organization for any embarrassment his relatives' comments may have caused, he writes:

"These disparaging remarks come from two places: ignorance of the facts, and passion for a father and grandfather.

"Because of our common respect for Dad I’m willing to overlook any negative comments made by any member of my family and to put aside petty issues from the past.  I would more than welcome an open discussion about 'Unitas We Stand' and any potential involvement they might want to have. At the end of the day this movie is not about me riding the coattails of my father.  It’s about Dad, ... the challenges he faced, and unbelievable hardships he had to overcome along the way to achieving his goal of becoming a professional football player."

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