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NBC Cancels Blue-Gray Football over Negro Eligibility

Nov. 8, 1963 - NBC said today it had canceled a telecast of the Blue-Gray football game in Montgomery, Ala., on Dec. 28 after being advised that Negroes would not be eligible to play in the game. NBC has televised the annual event (pictured in 1958) for the last nine years. The competing teams are composed of players chosen from colleges and universities in the North and South. A statement issued by the network said: “NBC was advised by the Blue and Gray Association that Negro players would not be eligible to participate in the Blue-Gray football game. In coordination with the sponsors of the telecast, NBC decided not to broadcast the game.” The advertisers are the Chrysler Corporation and the Gillette Company, who sponsored last year’s telecast. Carl Lindemann Jr., vice president of sports for NBC, said no Negro had played in the game since the network had been televising the series. Events such as the Blue-Gray game depend heavily on television income for their survival. Alabama Governor George Wallace said NBC’s action was “tragic and irresponsible,” and Montgomery Mayor Earl James called the decision “deplorable.”


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