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Raiders-Jets Game in Alabama Canceled Over Segregated Seating

Aug. 20, 1963 - Al Davis (left with Art Powell), coach of the American Football League’s Oakland Raiders, expressed disappointment over the circumstances that led to today’s cancellation of an exhibition game involving his club and the New York Jets Friday night in Mobile, Alabama. Milt Woodward, assistant commissioner of the AFL, canceled the Friday night game in the face of mounting racial pressures in the Alabama city. “We are disappointed,” Davis said. “We thought we had the problem licked.” The Raider coach was alluding to earlier assurances on the part of the Mobile promoters that they would guarantee integrated seating at Ernie Ladd Memorial Stadium for the annual benefit contest. Four Negro players for the Raiders — Art Powell, Fred Williamson, Clem Daniels, and Bo Roberson — said they would refuse to play unless the stadium was completely desegregated. When the promoters finally decided that fully integrated seating was impossible, the league office requested the cancellation. New York Jets owner David (Sonny) Werblin said today he had been under the impression there would be no segregated seating at the game. Werblin added that, since this would not be the case, he supported the cancellation. There are eight Negroes on the Jets’ squad, including four starters.


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