Syracuse Honors Nine Collegiate Football Players Who Made a Stand Against Racism in 1970

In 1970 nine African-American football players at Syracuse University quit the team to protest racist treatment they received on campus and in the football program. There were 11 black players on the team at the time.

The nine athletes claimed that coaches were insensitive to black athletes, would not let them compete for certain positions, did not offer adequate academic support for black athletes, and did not give them proper medical care. The students were also concerned that there were no African-American coaches. The nine black athletes gave up their football scholarships.

The protest by the black football players prompted an investigation that called for many changes at Syracuse University, which resulted in increased racial diversity on campus and more opportunities for African Americans.

Late last month the university gave the nine football players the Chancellor’s Medal, one of the university’s highest honors. Also, they were presented with their varsity jackets during a halftime ceremony at a football game.