The Black 14 - Barrier Breakers
In 1969 the U.S. was divided for many reasons. With protests taking place nationwide, 14 black football players at the University of Wyoming, who later became known as the “Black 14,” wanted to stage their own protest. Their next home game was against Brigham Young University (BYU). Brigham Young was owned and run by the Mormon church who forbid black men to become priests and would not let black women enter their sanctuary.
The silent protest the players planned against the policies of BYU and the Mormon Church would be to wear a black armband with the number 14 on it during the game. However, when the men went to see their coach to explain why they felt the way they did, upon arrival they were told that they had been expelled from the team and their scholarships were revoked. While this made national news, and advanced the awareness of inequality beyond the world of sport, nothing the men did reversed the coach’s decision. This deeply affected the players’ lives and soon after it became the demise of the coach’s career.
While what happened led to changes in university policies, it was too late for the players who lost their opportunity to complete their education.
See their ISSJ interview at The Black 14