Syracuse players honored 36 years after racial protest

Updated: October 21, 2006, 2:30 PM ET
Associated Press

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Thirty-six years after they quit the team to protest racial injustice, nine black Syracuse University football players were given their long-denied letterman jackets at a halftime ceremony Saturday afternoon.

The university also gave them Chancellor's Medals, one of the university's highest honors.

Former National Football League star and Syracuse alumnus Art Monk, who has won three Super Bowls, presented the letterman jackets. He said the players' accomplishments make a larger statement than any sports record he ever set.

The players walked out of spring practice in 1970 and said they would boycott the upcoming season.

That inspired a university investigation that found widespread racial injustice at Syracuse and led to dramatic changes, including increased hiring of black assistant coaches and a revised dress code.

After giving up football, and their scholarships, all became successful as business executives, teachers and public servants.

One of the men, John Lobon, said, quote, "Sometimes you have to make a stand for your principles if you want to believe in who and what you are."

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press