Syracuse 8's past drive for social justice scores big in Cambridge


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Members of Syracuse 8 pays a historic visit to Cambridge City Hall

Four members of this historic legacy visited Cambridge City Hall April 18, 2017 for a sit down panel discussion, reception and promotion for new book Leveling the Playing Field written by David Marc. View Part 1Part 2. Moderated by Northeastern University's Study of Sports in Society Executive Director Dan Lebowitz, the panel discussion and following Q&A ranged from questions regarding player feelings during those historic years as well as recognized one specific member, Cambridge high school alumni A. Alif Muhammad. Muhammad was surrounded in the City Hall chamber by numerous family and friends.  Counting far more than any last minute New England Patriots' drive orchestrated by Tom Brady, members the 1969-1970 Syracuse football team known as the Syracuse 8, really 9, scored a victory for social justice and ultimately social change. Nine young African American men - Gregory Allen, Richard Bulls, John Godbolt, Dana Harrell, John Lobon, Clarence McGill, A. Alif Muhammad, Duane Walker and Ron Womack - put their college and professional football aspirations on hold during the 1969-1970 Syracuse University football season. Reporters would erroneously list the number of young men as eight when it was in fact nine. They used the tactic of boycotting practice in an effort to protest racial inequality on the team. The Syracuse players petitioned their coaching staff with demands ranging from equal access to academic tutoring, and quality medical care for all team members to diversity among the coaching staff and starting games based on merit rather than race.    Cambridge Mayor Denise Simmons presided over the ceremony along with City Manager Louis DePasquale and new Director of Libraries for Cambridge, Maria McCauley.