Before Kaepernick, The ‘Syracuse 8’ Were Blackballed By Pro Football | WBUR

They met in secret, away from their white coaches and teammates.

“We used to meet at midnight,” former Syracuse football player Dana Harrell says. “And we could have met earlier. But we used to meet at midnight, to lay out our thoughts and plans, just like the slaves.”

Harrell was one of nine college football players the international media would — incorrectly — call the “Syracuse 8.”

It was the late 1960s, after the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and Bobby Kennedy.

Dana and his black teammates didn’t just see racial injustice. They lived it. And they wanted to do something about it.