BYU football: Black 14 game lives in BYU memories

Return To Article
Add a comment
  • Important to Remember
    Nov. 7, 2009 12:47 p.m.

    I will say nothing as to who was justified/not-justified in this incident. As is so often the case in past events, two or more groups of people who can get along today were unable to back then. The incident is what it is.

    The incident had an impact on Utah beyond BYU itself. Controversy came into the athletics of USU and Weber State and the University of Utah had to make some adjustments. This was an incident that had consequences beyond BYU and the LDS Church.

    To say we should sweep it all under the rug is to do a disservice to everyone. These incidents are important to remember- not to bash one side or another today, but to recognize that we are all human beings and imperfect people.

  • sigh
    Nov. 6, 2009 12:21 p.m.

    The LDS church and it's followers love to honor the past except when these type of stories come around then they ask why we even bring it up. I dislike how so many important historical events get lost as leaders try to shape our understanding and our opinions of the church. I have been a member of the church for a long time and this is the first time I have heard of this. Don't run from the past. Learn from it. Good and bad.

  • To Annoyed
    Nov. 6, 2009 11:48 a.m.

    You said,

    "For one being black is not a lifestyle choice, being gay is."

    Not according to a LOT of scientific, biological and genetic research.

    "From a Judeo-Christian point of veiw being black was not a moral sin,"

    Not according to countless statements and Conference talks from Apostles, Prophets, and leading thinkers in the LDS Church, who traced the "curse" of blackness back to the "moral sin" of being a fence-sitter in the "War in Heaven" and therefore qualifying to come to earth through the "cursed" lineage of Cain who was cursed because of MURDER!

    So you think being "cursed" to come to earth as the children of the first cold-blooded "murderer" is not "moral sin"????

    Don't continue to lie to yourself and others. You are NOT without malice!

  • Forgetful Fans
    Nov. 6, 2009 11:34 a.m.

    I recommend all of you rent the movie "the Express". It is about the first african american that won the heisman from Syracuse University, Ernie Davis. Amazing book about this young man too. Anyway, descrimination during the 60s and even the 70s and can even be seen today. I am pretty sure it even existed in Wyoming during the 60s. History is to learn but not repeat. That is what we are all doing is learning and we cannot repeat what has been done before.

  • annoyed
    Nov. 6, 2009 10:09 a.m.

    There are things in every orginazation past present and future that are going to appear bigoted. Many times they are. The LDS church understood they were doing something wrong and corrected the action. The diffrence between the issue in 1969 with blacks and the issue with gays today are based on a completely diffrent set of circumstances. For one being black is not a lifestyle choice, being gay is. From a Judeo-Christian point of veiw being black was not a moral sin, homosexuality as a practice has always been. You can not expect a 12000 year old religion to just change on a topic that their God has comanded not to condone. That being said you can be gay and go to an LDS church you just can not be practicing.

    Lastly we can say sorry all you want and no one will ever let it it go. That is why most LDS members choose to ignore issues like this. Because no one wants to hear an appology they just want to show how wrong we are. You can try to make me feel bad for what have said but that's my belife with out malice.

  • Cal Coug
    Nov. 6, 2009 10:03 a.m.

    Re Face It: We have not and will never be accepting? Have you never been to the BYU campus or to a chapel? If you are of any other race at those places you are greated, welcomed and accepted more so than your regular ol white person. It seems LDS members go out of their way to try to make minorities feel accepted.
    I can understand that historically we were not at the front of the class when it came to acceptance of blacks but I don't see how that assertion can be made now. Unless of course you have not personal knowledge.

  • to: Face It 8:33
    Nov. 6, 2009 9:16 a.m.

    Face It | 8:33 a.m. Nov. 6, 2009
    The LDS church is not and will never be all accepting. That is the whole reason for all of the tension. Members want to be accepted but don't show the same courtesy outside their beliefs. That's why they are considered hypocrites.


    Depends on what you mean by all accepting. If you mean accepting of people, you're wrong. I know of people of all kinds and stripes that sit among us in the pews, including those who struggle with same-sex attraction.

    If you mean accepting of behavior, you're right. A religion by definition holds that certain behaviors are sins and shouldn't be condoned. The church is there to help avoid those behaviors and the harm that comes with them.

  • Face It
    Nov. 6, 2009 8:33 a.m.

    The LDS church is not and will never be all accepting. That is the whole reason for all of the tension. Members want to be accepted but don't show the same courtesy outside their beliefs. That's why they are considered hypocrites.

  • Kyle
    Nov. 6, 2009 8:29 a.m.

    Inappropriate said "It is unfair to bring religious disputes onto the playing field and that's what the Cowboy players were trying to do."

    But you think it IS fair to bring religion onto the field when it suits you? Having prayers in the locker rooms before games? That is mixing religion with football. Having a football team that is funded and sponsored by a religious Church? That brings religion onto the field by definition! Having firesides where football players, who have NO theological or pastoral credentials whatsoever, try to exploit their football hero status to recruit converts and strengthen religious believers - that is mixing religion and football!

    If you are going to mix religion with football like that, then you can expect religious DISPUTES to be mixed with the game, too!

    What these Wyoming players did was heroic! The only problem with the 60's was that NOT ENOUGH people protested the LDS Church's racism!

  • MattMo
    Nov. 6, 2009 7:59 a.m.

    Can't we all just get along.

  • Anonymous
    Nov. 6, 2009 7:26 a.m.

    Arguing with Mormons is a huge waste of time. They will justify anything.

  • Own it, Brothers and Sisters
    Nov. 6, 2009 5:12 a.m.

    The Church was not a trailblazer when it came to civil rights. We has every opportunity to stand by our Black brothers and sisters who were fighting for civil rights (a cause that history has shown to be just and true), and we as a Church and as a people squandered that opportunity. Don't be surprised or offended by criticism that is accurate. Let's instead follow the prophetic counsel of President Hinckley and make sure that we fight with all of our might against racial prejudice, and commit to be a true friend to all.

  • Anonymous
    Nov. 6, 2009 2:37 a.m.

    Actual, it was the football season of 1968, BYU vs. San Jose St., where the first incident occurred with regards to racial response. The Black football players did not suit-up for the game. Some of the San Jose St players wore black arm bands.
    The San Jose St. student-body protested by not attending the game. About the only folks in the stands at game time were the families of the players. Friday night before the game, there was a bomb scare at the hotel where the BYU team occupied.
    Only bring this up for historical purposes.

  • BYU, not
    Nov. 5, 2009 5:28 p.m.

    From reading the article I would say the title is wrong. It is really Wyoming that is regurgitating this incident. The quotes from BYU folks (including Marc Lyons) seem to have been solicited in response to the seminar held at Wyo. It really doesn't make much sense to hold such a seminar during the week preceding the BYU-Wyo football game unless they are trying to have some influence on the outcome.

    However, such a conclusion doesn't really make much sense. Cowboy fans are rude and violent enough when BYU comes to town.

  • SoCalCougar
    Nov. 5, 2009 3:59 p.m.

    Sadly, what is missing from this article is the fact that coach Eaton was willing to meet with the 14 players individually to discuss their re-admittance to the team, only to be told by their NAACP Attorney, William Waterman, "There will be no such meeting". Essentially, the NAACP sacrificed these football players careers for their own selfish motives. Coach Eaton thought the players had been told of the proposed meeting, only to learn LATER, that their own NAACP Attorney had never even informed them of the offer!

    " this day, I believe that if the black fourteen had been permitted to discuss their needs and desires and their future with Coach Eaton and other members of the coaching staff on November 10, 1969, the whole matter would have been resolved favorably to all concerned. If the fourteen had been left in the dark about the settlement meetings, what could have been the motive for such a decision?"

    (Quote from: "The Black 14: Williams v. Eaton A Personal Recollection" by James E. Barrett)

  • Anonymous
    Nov. 5, 2009 3:50 p.m.

    "After playing in the 1968 Sugar Bowl, Wyoming didn't play in another bowl game until 1987."

    WRONG. Wyoming played in the 1976 Fiesta Bowl, losing to Oklahoma 41-7.

  • TB
    Nov. 5, 2009 3:47 p.m.

    RE: TB: Read the whole quote. In terms of calling me stupid? You also commented on the article, with no obvious insight aside from what a great commentator Marc LYONS is. You must have a radio that picks up only one station- KSL if you think he is the best color commentator in football. Paragraph breaks inserted by a writer do not mean the quote is not one cohesive thought. He is a goofball, you are a goofball and quite obviously a BYU homer/apologist. In terms of intellectual capacity, it's obvious you didn't think anything more about the article than "poor us, we BYU fans are so persecuted and picked on" Typical. If you think I'm stupid, I'll take it as a complement.

  • Utah Man
    Nov. 5, 2009 3:29 p.m.

    This was a great article, and very much worth my time. Although I was born in the 80's, I do have an opinion. The "Black 14" should be commended on their courageous actions. Standing up for what they believe during a very difficult and tumultous time in our country's history. I am of the LDS faith, a University of Utah graduate, and I see no harm in what their actions.

    Shame on the University of Wyoming football coach for throwing these kids off the team. Clearly he only cared for their athletic prowess and not their personal well being. Shame on the University of Wyoming as a whole for throwing them out of school. What good does that accomplish. I would hope they would right the wrongs of the "Black 14."

    And Wyoming being down ever since has nothing to do with this. It has everything to do with the fact that it is very hard to recruit to Laramie, WY. The landscape of college sports is not what it was in the late 60's.

    I hope we can all learn a lesson from this and it show har far our country really has come.

  • RE: TB
    Nov. 5, 2009 2:58 p.m.

    And I thought most people who comment about DNews articles are actually stupid. Reading your comments about Marc Lyons (note, there is not a Mr. Lyon who is a color commentator for BYU football) confirms my opinion. He is the best color commentator for football I've ever heard. Furthermore, he was not talking about the whole situation of the protest that day in Laramie as being "kind of comical", but rather of the girl who could not spell but still had her poster out there.

  • Bigotry and Racism
    Nov. 5, 2009 2:20 p.m.

    Bigotry and Racism are equally distasteful. I don't understand why people are showing bigotry toward a religious group because it was racist. Kettle calling the pot black? (no pun intended)

  • TB
    Nov. 5, 2009 2:03 p.m.

    And I thought Mr. Lyon was a goofball just from listening to him as a color commentator. Hearing him say that the situation was "kind of comical" confirms my opinion. Of course this was not just about football. It was a statement as to how these young men felt about a church I happen to belong to. All the apologists in the church can't re-write history. Live with it, deal with it. Show respect for the courage that was demonstrated. And reflect on your own feelings about other people including those who are of different races and religious persuasions. I thought the article was very fair, perhaps too fair towards the church and BYU. If folks think there is/was no bigotry, hypocrisy and arrogance in our ranks, they are deceiving themselves.

  • Cam Caldwell
    Nov. 5, 2009 1:50 p.m.

    I was BYU Student Body Vice President at the time and attended the game with members of the BYU band who traveled to Laramie. I spoke to the Wyoming Student Senate that met just before the game.

    I then returned to BYU and was invited to be one of two student leaders participating in a university administration review of the incident. Ernest L. Wilkinson proposed to the group to ignore the incident. Everyone was quiet. I raised my hand and said, "Excuse me, President Wilkinson, but this is a problem that will not go away."

    I later was assigned to work with David B. Haight (who later was appointed an apostle) to help develop the university's response to this issue.

  • wyonative
    Nov. 5, 2009 1:44 p.m.

    I was attending Wyo at the time this took place living in the dorm. It was an unbelievable time for everyone and one that will never be forgotten by those who were in any way affected. I am LDS and a dedicated Wyoming fan but I will say discrimation went both ways on that campus from then on. In order to attend institue or go to church we had to walk between those same "Black Fourteen" and many other students who were picketing the Institute building. I remember my father calling me and advising my to stay in the dorm and not go to Church for a few weeks. Those of us who were LDS on campus were given a hard time. There are two sides to every story. I felt Eton did the right thing at the time---looking back, it is a much tougher decision.

  • Re: misguided hatred
    Nov. 5, 2009 12:38 p.m.

    I thought this was a very insightful article and I enjoyed reading it. Nowhere in this article was there an attempt to smear the LDS church. Stop being so thin-skinned people. I am LDS and did not feel threatened at all about this. The author did give both sides. I think the 14 kids did a courageous, if not misguided, act (like Lyons said, a lot of the players weren't even LDS). Eaton over-reacted, especially considering the weak punishments (i.e. Urban Meyer and the eye gouging incident) that are given today.
    I did not know this story, but am glad the author talked about to remind people about an important era of our national history.

  • Cowboy Fan
    Nov. 5, 2009 12:38 p.m.

    Monsieur le prof: Before propagating hateful presumptions you should research the facts. Something as simple as wikipedia can easily fill in your gaps of knowledge.

    A recent interview in the Laramie Boomerang with a member of the Black 14 dispels any myths that this was a matter of "team" principle with Coach Eaton. From the Boomerang:

    Hamilton doesn’t think it was all about Cowboy football. He remembers that two years prior to the “Black 14”, what Eaton said when Hamilton asked for permission to marry.

    “His boss, Red Jacoby, said ‘Go forth, it’ll be good for you; you’ll settle down.’ In the same day, 20 minutes later I’m in front of Lloyd Eaton at his office and he says ‘There’s no way in hell that I’m going to let you marry a white girl on the people of Wyoming’s money,’” Hamilton said. “That incident alone proved to me what kind of a man Mr. Eaton was.”

  • Monsieur le prof
    Nov. 5, 2009 12:06 p.m.

    The story didn't mention that the players were kicked out of school, merely off the team. I suppose they had to drop out because they were off scholarship, or that they wanted to play elsewhere, or that they weren't as interested in an education as they were playing football.
    They made their choice knowing the consequences, so they certainly weren't victims.

  • To Say what
    Nov. 5, 2009 11:44 a.m.

    Grambling has a hard time recruiting whites similar to the Y having a hard time recruiting blacks so it is not racist of either school. It is hard to get a White LDS to go go Grambling as it is hard for a Black inner city kid to come to the Y.

  • A Proud Mormon Wyoming Graduate
    Nov. 5, 2009 11:13 a.m.

    Whenever we try to place the events of a different era within the context of this era, we tend to misrepresent the feelings that existed in that time.

    The fact that this could not and would not happen today is a testament to how far we have come as a society.

    It is also reminiscent of how strongly some feel about the issues we face today.

    As a Mormon who lived in Laramie for a number of years, it is interesting that this is brought up this year. I never heard about it when I lived there, and I am young enough that my memory of it at the time is a bit fuzzy.

    The Wyomingites do dislike BYU, but in my experience, the tales of mistreatment of BYU fans and players at Wyoming are quite a bit overstated.

    A Proud Mormon Wyoming Graduate.

  • This article teaches me...
    Nov. 5, 2009 10:52 a.m.

    Dont mess with BYU. period. Or you too will have losing seasons as well if you rise up against us like Wyoming.

  • To Anonymous
    Nov. 5, 2009 10:51 a.m.

    Your comment "very few colleges recruiting the black athlete" is wrong, the PAC10 and Big10 and lots of northern schools were recruiting black athletes at this time. For example, Jesse Owens went to Ohio State in the 1920s, Jim Brown to Syracuse in the 1950s, Wilt Chamberlin to Kansas in 1950s and Bill Russell to USF in 1950s. Your Y and the southern colleges were not recruiting blacks during this time

  • A very interesting article
    Nov. 5, 2009 10:48 a.m.

    I was at the BYU vs CSU basketball game —when the blacks came onto the floor to protest the LDS church - they were not all students and none were from the CSU team. I was a BYU student that traveled with the Cougar Cheer Leaders.

    It took a while for the police and CSU security to clear the floor so the game could continue.

    The next day BYU went to WYO and there was lots of security & police at the game — inside & outside. They were not going to let what happened at CSU happen in Laramie. I remember that there were Cowboys [security people] standing outside with axe handles.

    I hope that there are not any crazy incidents this Saturday by some people who want to stir up old anti BYU/LDS opinions.

  • If I don't agree with you
    Nov. 5, 2009 10:46 a.m.

    That makes me a bigot? Easy to label that which you don't agree with let alone understand.

  • re: say what?
    Nov. 5, 2009 10:45 a.m.

    "I dunno. Is is racist when predominantly black colleges such as Grambling do it?

    If you answered no, then it's not racist."

    And if I answered yes?

  • Wyo observer
    Nov. 5, 2009 10:44 a.m.

    It's interesting to see so many defensive comments on here. Racism still exists whether we want to acknowledge it or not. I think the story and the recent analysis of the situation has been very measured. The focus has been on the repercussions of the event - not on judging the individual actions. It is hard to judge coach Eaton by today's standards. However, it doesn't mean he was right. It takes a lot of courage to stand up against social norms, and the Black 14 were courageous. How many people would sacrifice their careers for a such a social injustice these days? Not many. That's the real story.

    UW is a better place because of the Black 14. And I'm sure BYU and the Church of Latter Day Saints is as well. Sometimes it takes a singular event to tip the scales in favor of justice.

  • Anonymous
    Nov. 5, 2009 10:32 a.m.

    It's sad that the 14 made a poor choice and had to suffer harsh consequences from it.
    But football is a dictatorship with the coach being the dictator. Violating team rules can bring down his wrath. They should have protested in a different way separate from the game. But many people especially younger adults done fully realize the consequesces of their actions.

    How can some people in Wyoming blame BYU? The ones who do are showing there religous bigotry more than anything else.

  • WISS
    Nov. 5, 2009 10:29 a.m.

    BYU fans are hypocritical. They want every event that paints the church in a negative light to be forgotten and swept under the rug and only want what they feel as persecution against their own faith to rally the brethren. If the institution that you represent, as BYU football does, is involved in doctrine that marginalizes a group of people based on the color of their skin, it is absolutely appropriate to protest the representatives, even on the football field. Remember the good and bad of the church (football team)and you will find yourself a better person (fan)for it.

  • interesting
    Nov. 5, 2009 10:19 a.m.

    ""And the ramifications of the "Black 14" incident have since resonated for decades.""

    if it was so important and still has ramifications today then how come most people have never heard of this incident ?

    Who else wants to stir the old & dead mormons are racists pot instead of addressing current the social problems of our nation.

  • Bigotry is wrong
    Nov. 5, 2009 10:15 a.m.

    Bigotry and descrimination is wrong. Groups who practice this behavior will be criticized. The LDS Church was and is not being persecuted- it was and is being criticized for immoral behavior. Own your actions.

    40 years ago it was descrimination towards blacks. Today it is descrimination towards gays. Who will be descriminated against 40 years from now?

    I am sure the people who ask why the D News is running a story about BYU football from 40 years ago enjoyed the articles about BYU football from 25 years ago.

  • Cougarf@n
    Nov. 5, 2009 10:12 a.m.

    It seems kind of ridiculous that the players were kicked out of school rather than just suspended for a game. You would think somewhere along the way the school would have reached out to the "Black 14" students at least in the form of an honarary degree, official apology, scholarship offer or something along those lines. Not that men in their 60's are now going to need a college education, but they still could have done something to remedy the situation in the mid-70's or even 80's.

    Although, since this was before I was born, I pretend to know the rest of the story regarding the incident. The school may have had its reasons.

  • Anonymous
    Nov. 5, 2009 9:42 a.m.

    not that is is an excuse, but there were very few colleges recruiting the black athlete. So many of us now, look back and try to re-evaluate history according to our standards/beliefs of today. It is is in the past, get over it, learn from it. There is nothing we can do to change it, nor what happened.

  • Hats Off
    Nov. 5, 2009 9:34 a.m.

    It's too easy to view this event from a 21st century perspective. These 14 players made a courageous decision and paid a tremendous price, as did the Wyoming football program.

    Football, after all, is a game. Dealing with racial prejudice on a daily basis is much, much bigger.

  • Re; Say what?
    Nov. 5, 2009 8:48 a.m.

    I dunno. Is is racist when predominantly black colleges such as Grambling do it?

    If you answered no, then it's not racist.

  • Say what?
    Nov. 5, 2009 7:57 a.m.

    "“There’s no prejudice here,” Floyd Millet, then BYU athletic director, said. He said the school did not actively scout African-American athletes, but that it was accepting of all students."

    Not actively scouting students of a certain race. Uh, isn't that racism?

  • Head in the sand
    Nov. 5, 2009 7:49 a.m.

    "It's an event that would better be forgotten."

    So I guess if we don't talk about it, it never happened.

  • YtxPat
    Nov. 5, 2009 7:44 a.m.

    The Wyoming coach was correct in his actions. The football field is not a place for political protests or expressions of someones beliefs. The field is a where a game is played. It is unfortunate that the lives of those players were so dramaticaly affected. I was a member of the Cowboy Joe Club and I am LDS and a BYU alum and remember the game well. Followed by the Colorado State protest.

    Having lived in Wyoming, I know that was a hard game for the Y players to visit as the fans can be rough. I had a parking pass inside the Cowboy Joe parking area with BYU stickers on my van and paid the price.

    The real story hear is the lack of tolerance of others beliefs and the correct procedure to attempt change in others actions.

  • Anonymous
    Nov. 5, 2009 7:43 a.m.

    re: Inappropriate
    so when is protesting for change "appropriate"? Chip on your shoulder much?

    Besides considering some of the things that have happened in Laramie for this game an armband is inappropriate? really

  • re: Kiss the baby...
    Nov. 5, 2009 7:36 a.m.

    Enjoy ending the season with two straight blowout losses, Ute-ie.

  • Great Story?
    Nov. 5, 2009 7:21 a.m.

    It was 40 years ago! What is the point in even mentioning this now? Some people need to move on in their lives. What could possibly be accomplished by bringing this up now?

  • re:kiss the baby
    Nov. 5, 2009 7:04 a.m.

    I guess you haven't noticed your utes aren't really world beaters this year either. Not sure you have to much to gloat about. Oh you do, all the teams you've beat this year have losing records. Hey way to I understand why you're trash talking.

    Good luck with your QB this week...whoever it is.

  • strange
    Nov. 5, 2009 6:58 a.m.

    So President Obama can attend a racist church for twenty years and nobody cares. But 40 years later people are still offended by this priesthood issue. Interesting to watch selective hatred practiced.

  • daveescaped
    Nov. 5, 2009 6:41 a.m.

    Great story. Thanks!

  • misguided hatred
    Nov. 5, 2009 6:32 a.m.

    Segregated congregations were typical across America in 1969 except for one church...the LDS Church. Detractors of the church used the priesthood issue to encourage hatred. Ironically, any member of any nation or race could sit in an LDS church and worship or even be baptized into the church if they chose. And it was practically the only christian church that would allow that in 1969!

    I propose that the "Black 14" didn't have all their issues straight. This article didn't do anything to encourage that either. It's complete arrogance or ignorance to think there is only one side to this story.

  • Inappropriate
    Nov. 5, 2009 5:57 a.m.

    It's an event that would better be forgotten. I remember the game and the constant attacks on BYU. It is unfair to bring religious disputes onto the playing field and that's what the Cowboy players were trying to do. The Wyoming coach was very couragous to do what he did. At New Mexico they didn't have the same amount of integrity and the players wore the armbands. However, at least one of the protestors at New Mexico is now a Mormon, and an institute instructor at that.

    I think the Wyoming crowd is now resurrecting this incident for no other reason than to stoke the fires of religious bigotry in order to try and beat BYU this Saturday. Shame on them.

    Nov. 5, 2009 12:04 a.m.

    Kittens, ...enjoy the new mexico bowl...hahaha!!

    Go Utes!!!!!!!!!!

  • Wow
    Nov. 4, 2009 10:37 p.m.

    What a stunning failure by Wyoming's coach. If you can't support your players in that kind of situation you don't deserve to coach, period.

  • Great article
    Nov. 4, 2009 10:03 p.m.

    These sorts of stories make the sports section far more interesting. I appreciate the historical lesson on sports in previous times.

  • ;Baby boomer
    Nov. 4, 2009 9:33 p.m.

    Great story - again, the clarity of years bring a great perspective to things. And the more things change,.....