top of page


with signs.jpg

The Black 14 is the story of fourteen black student-athletes from the 1969 University of Wyoming (UW) football team who were unfairly dismissed from the team. The players were dismissed for requesting to participate in a peaceful protest planned by the Black Students' Alliance (BSA) during an upcoming game against Brigham Young University (BYU).



The UW football team had a great record before the 1969 game against BYU. They had won 31 of 36 games, played in the Sun Bowl and the Sugar Bowl, and were ranked #12 in the UPI Board of Coaches Poll.



Seven of the 14 African-American players were starters leading up to the BYU game, with John Griffin as the leading receiver. Ron Hill led in kickoff returns and scored Wyoming's first touchdown in college football's centennial year. Joe Williams, Tony Gibson, and Ted Williams were the top four rushers. Tony McGee tackled the Air Force quarterback for a loss seven times in UW's come-from-behind win at AFA.



Early that week, the BSA announced plans to protest UW's participation in the game against BYU. The protest was in response to a tenet held by the church that owns BYU, which stated that African Americans could not ascend to the priesthood. The BSA release stated that using university facilities and student monies to host BYU sanctioned that tenet. When the 14 Black players approached coach Lloyd Eaton to discuss how they might show solidarity with the BSA, wearing black armbands as a symbol of protest, they were kicked off the team. Eaton based this punishment on his team rules: 1) scholarship players could not participate in demonstrations, and 2) they could not form factions within the team.



Realizing these rules could be unconstitutional, UW withdrew them the following week, but the players were not reinstated. Their story was covered nationally, including an article in Sports Illustrated. The Denver Post, a respected voice in the community, posed a thought-provoking question: Was football more important in Wyoming than human rights? This question, echoing the sentiments of many, highlighted the moral dilemma and the urgent need for change in the sports community.

stairs b14.jpg


The Black 14 group played a significant role in promoting political activism and sports. At the 1968 Olympics, Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fists to show solidarity with oppressed Black people. Forty-eight years later, Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racism. 

The Black 14 group has received widespread recognition and appreciation for their bravery and activism against discrimination. CBS Sports, CNN, ESPN, PBS, Sports Center, Sports Illustrated, USA Today, and the Washington Post, among others, have featured them. In 2017, Spike Lee served as an executive producer for a Black 14 Documentary.

Today, The Black 14 Philanthropy is a Non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that runs several programs, including

  • The Black 14 Mind Body Soul Initiative,

  • The Black 14 Scholarship Fund, and

  • The Black 14 Social Justice Institute

bottom of page