STREETZ INSIDER NATIONAL NEWS
Nearly 50 years ago, in 1969, 14 black football players at the University of Wyoming wanted to protest a racist policy.
The team was set to play Brigham Young University, a university affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which at the time had a policy prohibiting black people from becoming priests. Students were planning a protest outside the football stadium, and the players wanted to wear black armbands during the game in support.
When the players approached their coach to ask for permission, they were immediately kicked off the team.
The campus fell into disarray — there were protests calling for the reinstatement of the players, and the situation garnered national attention. The team, though it beat BYU 40-7, lost its last four games of the season and went 1-9 the next season. Though three of the players came back to play for the team in 1970, three others transferred to all-black schools. Two eventually went on to play in the NFL.
None of them ever received a public apology. Until Friday.
The University of Wyoming held a commemorative week in honor of the 14 players, dubbed the “Black 14,” this year, marking the 50th anniversary of the incident. The week, attended by eight of the 11 living players, culminated in a dinner Friday, when the university’s athletic director Tom Burman read from an official apology letter from the school.
The letter applauds the former students for their actions and says they were “deprived” of their college experiences because of events that weren’t their fault.
“To have your collegiate careers derailed as both students and athletes is a tragedy,” it says.
It concludes with the following: “Please accept this sincere apology from the University of Wyoming for the unfair way you were treated and for the hardships that treatment created for you. We want to welcome you home as valued members of this institution, and hope you accept our old Wyoming saying, ‘Once a Cowboy, always a Cowboy.'”