In 1967, athletes put their weight behind Muhammad Ali after he refused to be drafted. Fifty years later, NFL players are again taking a political stand
In 1962, as a cornerback for the American Football League’s Boston Patriots, Walter Beach rallied his fellow pitch-black players- there were about five- for a discussion.
The topic was what to do about a forthcoming exhibition game against the Houston Oiler that was scheduled to be played in New Orleans. As was custom and statute in most of the south at the time, the team adaptations were to be segregated. Promoters planned to house the pitch-black actors from both teams at a black-owned motel, and white-hot musicians from both teams at a hotel two miles back.” We were all in agreement that we didn’t want to participate in it ,” Beach said.
The players, led by Beach, asked the team to simply allow them to fly down and fly back the day of the pair rather than submit to the reproaches of Jim crow- the reputation given to the laws enacted by southern states to legally enforce segregation after the civil war.
The team did buy Beach a plane ticket, he echoed: air tickets residence. He was cut.
Five years later, withdrew, he found himself back at the intersection of activism and athletics. The boxing heavyweight endorse of the world, Muhammad Ali, was facing intense public backlash , not to mention the possibility of setting up jail hour and having his entitlements deprived, over his refusal to be drafted for the Vietnam war.