Today Is The Anniversary Of The Wyoming ‘Black 14′
In 1969, the Wyoming Cowboys were riding high, coming off three consecutive conference championships, undefeated, and ranked 12th in the nation. Then, on October 17th, the fate of the Pokes football program changed forever.
The day before a game against Brigham Young University, 14 African-American players informed coach Lloyd Eaton about their plan to wear black armbands to protest racism at BYU and within the Mormon church. Eaton dismissed all 14 players for the rest of the season.
In the weeks following the incident, which became known as the "Black 14" controversy, opposing teams wore armbands in support of the suspended players and some schools faced public pressure to drop Wyoming from the schedule.
After a 6-0 start, Wyoming lost their final four games of the season. The following year, the Cowboys finished 1-9 and Eaton resigned. Over the next decade, Wyoming had one winning season.
49 years later, the Wyoming football program has never regained the national prominence it enjoyed in the late '60s. Meanwhile, race continues to play a controversial role in the sport.