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Across the state support for Eaton poured in. The cowboy element was angry. When seven members of the faculty said they would resign unless the 14 were reinstated, the Touchdown Club in Casper said it was raising money to get the seven out of the state. The student senate came out in favor of a hearing on the issue—which caused the rest of the students to call for an impeachment of the senate. A faculty-student ad hoc committee was formed to investigate, and then was never heard from again. The school paper came out for the 14, and then Phil White, the editor, resigned. Carlson called a press conference, was backed into admitting, unintentionally, that at Wyoming football came first and civil rights second. When he realized what he had said, the press conference was over. One member of the state legislature said that if Eaton backed down, there would be trouble with the university budget next year. Eaton wasn't about to back down.
"It's building," said Bill Waterman. "All across the country. Building and building. This will be a new day for the college athlete, both black and white."
At Wyoming the Black Student Alliance said it would set up picket lines at the San Jose game. Governor Hathaway said he was ready to call out the National Guard. Everyone was in a panic. The university, in an official letter, which Waterman has, said it understood on good authority that 2,000 Black Panthers were headed for Laramie. "That's not only a lie," said Waterman, "it's criminal."
On Saturday, an hour before the game, Vernon Breazeale, the chief of the Laramie police force, watched as an orderly group of 134 pickets circled 200 feet from the stadium gate. "One thing I want these kids to understand," Breazeale said, "is that we are here to protect them, not to fight with them. Their fight is with the university, not with us. All the football players on the football team are good kids, both the black and white ones. Real gentlemen. I remember another coach we had here. He used to bring in ex-convicts to play. Real hoodlums. Always drunk, always in trouble. We used to club them over the head until the blood ran down the side of their mouths. I'm glad these kids today are different."
He watched as a black girl silently carried a sign that said: "Something is happening here, but you don't understand what it is, do you?"
"I guess that sign says it all," someone said.
"Yeah, I guess so," said Chief Breazeale.