The University of Wyoming Cowboys near the start of the 1969 season. CR: UW American Heritage Center.
CBS Sports Network presents "The Black 14: Wyoming Football 1969," the story of 14 African American University of Wyoming football players who were dismissed from the team in 1969 due to their desire to protest racial injustices. The one-hour Black History Month documentary debuts Saturday, Feb. 11 (10:30 PM, ET).
The documentary is set in the late-1960s at the pinnacle of the civil rights movement with racial tension brewing on and off the field. The Wyoming football team, coming off their third consecutive Western Athletic Conference championship and undefeated through four games of the 1969 season, was set to face BYU. The 14 varsity African American players on Wyoming attempted to protest BYU and the Mormon Church's ban on AfricanAmerican priests by wearing black arm bands during the game. Prior to the game, the players were dismissed from the team by Coach Lloyd Eaton with the decision supported by the University of Wyoming Board Of Trustees. Subsequently, students of all races across the Western Athletic Conference erupted in protest over the dismissal of the players.
The documentary chronicles the highly-charged incident, the overwhelming response against the decision, the national attention it received and the downfall of Wyoming's 1969 football season. The show includes interviews with members of the "Black 14" and players from the 1969 Wyoming and BYU football teams.
As part of the Network's Black History Month programming, and in connection with the theme of social activism highlighted in the documentary, CBS Sports Network also will air a series of vignettes chronicling social activism by African American athletes over the decades.
Blake Berson produces the documentary. Sarah Kazadi produces the vignette series. Emilie Deutsch is vice president of features and original programming for CBS Sports.
CBS Sports Network is available across the country through local cable, video and telco providers and via satellite on DIRECTV Channel 221 and Dish Network Channel 158. For more information, including a full programming schedule and how to get CBS Sports Network, go to www.cbssportsnetwork.com.