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'WAS THIS THEIR FREEDOM RIDE?'
Ron Mix
January 18, 1965
The AFL All-Star game, scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 16, in the Sugar Bowl, was shifted to Houston last Monday by Commissioner Joe Foss. There was an ugly reason: the 22 Negro players on the East and West squads had encountered discrimination and discourtesy and had elected not to play in New Orleans. Here Ron Mix, the fine San Diego tackle (right), tells how he argued with the men against their move and asks and answers the question: 'WAS THIS THEIR FREEDOM RIDE?'
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January 18, 1965

'was This Their Freedom Ride?'

The AFL All-Star game, scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 16, in the Sugar Bowl, was shifted to Houston last Monday by Commissioner Joe Foss. There was an ugly reason: the 22 Negro players on the East and West squads had encountered discrimination and discourtesy and had elected not to play in New Orleans. Here Ron Mix, the fine San Diego tackle (right), tells how he argued with the men against their move and asks and answers the question: 'WAS THIS THEIR FREEDOM RIDE?'

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"Ron," said Abner, "in 10 minutes, the promoters and some men are going to meet with us. You know what they're going to tell us? We're sorry. Stay around, let us work it out. You had trouble with taxis? Well, we'll round up a car for each of you. What can we do to make it up? I'm afraid, Ron, that they won't be too convincing. We realize the incidents aren't their fault. They aren't ours either. We've got to do what we believe is right."

I left them and walked down the hall to my room. I lay on the bed, feeling very tired. I sympathized greatly with their cause but still felt their methods were wrong, their action too hasty. Perhaps the league office could help. I hoped that the Negro players would give them the opportunity to try.

Late in the afternoon I heard that the meeting between some city representatives and the Negro spokesmen proved uneventful. Many Negro players had left, all would be gone soon.

I made a decision then that if the game were to go on despite the absence of the Negro players, I would not play. I felt I would be wrong in not playing but that it was important for at least one white player—if the game had to be played in New Orleans—to join the Negroes, to say we're with you. Dammit, I thought again, this time you're wrong. But your cause is just and we're with you.

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