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Black 14 Members Return To UW To Be Honored

Maggie Mullen
Black 14 members from left to right: Tony Gibson, Ivie Moore, Guillermo Hysaw, John Griffin, Tony McGee, and Mel Hamilton.

Friday six former African-American football players from the University of Wyoming's team reunited after almost fifty years to be honored on UW's campus.

The six players plus eight others came to be known as the Black 14. Back in 1969, they'd planned to wear black armbands during their game against BYU to protest the Mormon Church's racist policies at that time. But before the game, Head coach Lloyd Eaton kicked each of them off the team, terminating their scholarships at UW. John Griffin was a wide receiver.

"Every day of my life and I'm seventy-years-old now, going on seventy-one, and I think about it every darn day," he said.

This was the first time the Black 14 had gathered in such a large group in Laramie since the day they were kicked of the team and ultimately blackballed from the NFL.

Player Ivie Moore said he doesn't regret his actions.

"I decided to stand up for the something which was the Black 14 instead falling for anything. Would I do again? Yes, I would. Yeah, I would do it again," he said.

All six players were given a Lifetime Achievement Award from the University of Wyoming's African American and Diaspora Studies Program.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, Yellowstone Public Radio in Montana, KUER in Salt Lake City and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.

Maggie Mullen is Wyoming Public Radio's regional reporter with the Mountain West News Bureau. Her work has aired on NPR, Marketplace, Science Friday, and Here and Now. She was awarded a 2019 regional Edward R. Murrow Award for her story on the Black 14.

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