BYU Football Will Wear Helmet Decal Honoring Wyoming’s Black 14

Sep 24, 2022, 6:18 PM
BYU Football, Black 14, Helmet Decal...
BYU football will wear a Black 14 helmet decal during their game against Wyoming. (Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
(Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

PROVO, Utah – BYU football is honoring the Wyoming Black 14 during tonight’s game against the Cowboys.

For the first time in over 50 years, members of that 1969 Wyoming team will be on the field in Provo. The two members of the Black 14 that will be in Provo for the BYU/Wyoming game are Mel Hamilton and John Griffin.

Black 14 decal on the BYU football helmet during the Wyoming game

In honor of their presence in Provo this week, BYU football will wear a special helmet decal to honor the Black 14.

On the back of BYU’s white helmet with navy blue decals, they will also have a decal on the back that says, “Black 14.”

The honoring of Wyoming’s Black 14 comes one month after a BYU fan was alleged to have said a racial slur towards a Black Duke Volleyball player, Rachel Richardson.

BYU has since said they have found zero evidence of the alleged slur towards Richardson.

About the Black 14

In 1969, BYU and Wyoming squared off for a football game in Laramie. Wyoming was an undefeated team and among the best squads in the country. Students at Wyoming used the game as an opportunity to protest a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints policy that didn’t allow Black men to hold the priesthood.

Fourteen Black Wyoming football players wanted to show their support to fellow students by wearing black armbands on their uniforms. But, instead of being allowed to wear those armbands, Wyoming coach Lloyd Eaton kicked all 14 players off the team.

Wyoming still defeated BYU, 40-7 in that game. But the impact of Wyoming’s Black 14 went beyond the playing fields.

The following season, BYU football made it a point of emphasis to recruit minority athletes. As a result, BYU coach Tommy Hudspeth signed BYU’s first black football player, Ron Knight, the following year.

In 1978, the revelation of the priesthood ended the ban on Black men holding the priesthood in the Church.

Three years ago, on the 50th anniversary of the game, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and members of the Black 14 had come together to provide food to insecure communities. The two groups have provided truckloads of food for less fortunate people.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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