Updated: May 2
LARAMIE, Wyo. — It had been nearly 50 years since the University of Wyoming banished 14 black players from its football team, but the decades-old dispute was all Tom Burman could think about as he guided his car across the grain-colored plains stretching from the Denver airport to campus.
The university’s athletic director had spent the previous night in Orlando watching the players — known as the “Black 14” — accept an award and explain how they had been kicked off the team in 1969 after trying to ask their coach if they could wear black armbands during an upcoming game. They had wanted to show solidarity against racism at a time when civil rights protests were common on the nation’s college campuses.