This Little Known Black History Fact topic was submitted by John Plummer, our dedicated listener of the Tom Joyner Morning Show.

In October 1969, 14 black football players were dismissed from the University of Wyoming team for protesting the Mormon religion’s standing on ordaining Black priests. The young players were set to play against Brigham Young University, (which was a Mormon school), but were instead called into the office of Coach Lloyd Eaton and kicked off the team.

It was the late 1960’s and the policy of the Jesus Christ Church of Latter-day Saints' was to exclude black men from being hired into priesthood. This was also during the Civil Rights Movement. The players wore black wristbands in protest, against their coaches’ wishes. Some of the players suggested the coach made racist remarks about life after University of Wyoming football, saying they would return to living on food stamps and welfare.

The case would go to the U.S. District Court and was dismissed.

Before the incident, the team was at a record of 4-0 with a promising chance of the upcoming Sugar Bowl. With 14 players eliminated from the team’s roster, their record suffered, and the season went to 2-4. The Cowboys wouldn’t have a chance at the Sugar Bowl again until 1987.

Most of the Black 14 players were never re-admitted to the Cowboy’s team. Their expulsion cost several hopes of professional football. Two of the players, Joe Williams and Tony McGee, made it to the NFL.

The year following the Black 14 incident, Brigham Young University admitted one African American player to their team. It wasn’t until 1987 that the Mormon church changed their policy of ordaining black priests into the religion.

Author Ryan Thorburn told the story of the 1969 incident in his book, “Black 14: The Rise, Fall and Rebirth of Wyoming Football.”


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4 thoughts on “Little Known Black History Fact: The Black 14

  1. africanwarrior on said:

    Just want to be.
    Disagree respectfully.
    Many of us are Immigrants including me from Nigeria.
    America doesn’t belong to any specific ethnicity except The American Indians.
    in25 yrs or less 50% of America will be non White.
    I am not concerned of comparison with any specific ethnicity including White Americans. I am Nigerian , Yorouba, and Black , and I am Married with a beautiful African American Woman , her and I believe in self empowerment, and doing for ourselves, White people have no vested interrest in how well we Blacks aredoing

  2. Just want to be free of pain on said:

    The answer is because as you talked about the Asians, Chinese, Orientals,have a place to return we as black people dont… you hear people say I will go back to Africa…. but to what? we have no place to turn and run,we are a forgiven people to a fault….

  3. africanwarrior on said:

    Why are we Blacks trying to force ourselves on White People who don’t like us?
    Why are we always trying to get accepted by White People?
    Are we that insecure that we can’t do things for ourselves?
    This America in 2012 , and I continuously see ,hear ,and read about brothers and sisters who still complain that White People won’t let them date, mary, or sleep with White Women & Men why is this? What is so special about acceptance from Whites?
    Do You see Asians, Chinese, Orientals, Africans beg , and march to get accepted by White People ? Why Is That??? simple other non Whites have realized long time ago that the only way to get power is through education , money is equal to power! Who cares if White people don’t like us? Get educated and you will be rich , and when you control money You get respected.
    We have protested, sang, marched and we are still being abused , disrespected , and viewed as low class people. We need to change how we do things.
    Self Empowerment. Do for ourselves.
    trying to make our offsprings look lighter by procreating Children with White Women or Men is not the answer, respecting ourselves, our Black women , and loving our dark Black children equally to those that some of us have created with White People is a good start to gaining self respect and dignity

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