“Leveling the Playing Field” Athletes Set Historical Precedence
Given the events unfolding at the University of Missouri, SUP’s recently published book Leveling the Playing Field: The Story of the Syracuse 8 provides a fascinating look at another set of football players who set a historical precedent for athletes protesting racial inequality.
Greg Allen, one of the Syracuse 8, had this to say about the situation, “The events at the University of Missouri are reminiscent of the events at Syracuse in 1970. The similarity is that African American athletes, football players, recognized their obligation to take a stand for principles much more important than football. We were willing to take a risk not knowing what the ultimate cost of our actions would be. Martin Luther King said “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.”
“In contrast to the boycott of the Syracuse 8 in 1970, the football players at University Missouri both black and white, along with their coaches all took a stand for change. They stood together. That was a powerful moment. Courage is taking conscious risk without considering the consequence. The Syracuse 8 set the example forty-five years ago. You can read our story in the book Leveling the Playing Field: The Story of the Syracuse 8.”