Black football players boycott AFL All-Star game

Date: 
Mon, 1965-01-11

On this date in 1965, Black pro football players boycotted the AFL All-Star game in New Orleans. This was the first boycott of a city by any professional sporting event in sports history.

After the 1964 American Football League season, the AFL All-Star Game had been scheduled for early 1965 in New Orleans' Tulane Stadium. That weekend Black players with the AFL’s Buffalo Bills had trouble getting a taxi or even basic service at restaurants. The team discussed the situation at a meeting and agreed to boycott the game as a statement against the racist conditions in the city.

Under the leadership of Buffalo Bills players, including Carlton Chester "Cookie" Gilchrist, the players put up a unified front, and the game was successfully moved to Houston's Jeppesen Stadium, which by that time had made progress toward more equal treatment in public accommodations.

Reference:
OUTSIDE THE PALE:
The Exclusion of Blacks from the National Football League, 1934-1946
By Thomas G. Smith, Professor of History, Nichols College
The Coffin Corner Volume XI
Originally publisher, The Journal of Sport History