CBS Sports Network Sets Premiere For Wyoming ‘Black 14′ Documentary
February is Black History Month and CBS Sports Network airs a new documentary on 14 African-American Wyoming Cowboys dismissed from the football team. “The Black 14: Wyoming Football 1969″ tells a story many Wyomingites well remember, though likely not remember well.
The special premieres Saturday, Feb. 11 at 8:30 p.m. with multiple replays throughout the month. It features interviews with the “Black 14″ who were involved. Other players from both 1969 UW and BYU football teams are also included.
For those who don't know the story, it's still significant just for its timing in history. The civil rights struggle was still very young in the fall of 1969.
Wyoming was coming off their third straight conference title, ranked number 12 in the nation. After winning their first four games, on Oct. 17, the fate of the football program changed forever.
The day before their game against Brigham Young, 14 players on the Wyoming roster informed Coach Loyd Eaton of their plan to wear black armbands to protest the racial policies at BYU and in the Mormon church – not allowing African American priests.
Eaton forbid his players from protesting and promptly dismissed all 14 players for the season. In a meeting, Eaton allegedly referred to them as “good negro boys” and encouraged them to transfer to black colleges like Grambling State and Morgan State.
After the incident, which became known as the “Black 14” controversy, San Jose State players wore multi-colored armbands to protest the decision. Also rival schools in the conference demanded Wyoming be dropped from their schedule.
Wyoming would lose their final four games of that season. The next year, Eaton was fired after finishing 1-9. Over the next decade, Wyoming only had one winning season and never regained their level of national prominence of the late ’60s ever since.