When I was typing up yesterday’s article and writing about Paul Zeise’s opinion piece on selling of beer during Pitt games I also wrote that I had hoped he would have remained the Pitt football beat writer for the Post-Gazette while his son Elijah was on the roster.
One of the reason I wanted that is because Paul Zeise is a damn good writer and while I, and others I’m sure, don’t agree with everything he writes – it is always a pleasure to read it.
Which got me to remember one of what I thought was a better piece of his work – the look-back article he did in 2005 about the 1957’s Pitt team’s Fullback and Linebacker Bobby Grier. Here is that article – it is a nice read about a very important, and positive, aspect of Pitt’s football history.
But what reading that did was start a train of thought that made me want to look up other important games, or noteworthy incidents that happened with the football program, and to research and see what circumstances surrounded those influential moments. I’ll do a full article on that later as my research into that subject culled out some Pitt gems.
Of course for that 1957 Sugar Bowl it big news nationally was the threat of boycott by the University of Pittsburgh if the state of Georgia, in the form of Governor Marvin Griffin, kept putting pressure on the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets to boycott the game if Pitt refused to take Grier off the team for the bowl game – it was dueling boycotts over a single football player. As Zeise writes:
Across the country, the reaction was similar to that of the students. Newspapers decried Griffin as being a bigot and out of touch, and the board of regents voted to allow the Yellow Jackets to play in the game. At the same time in Pittsburgh, the Panthers players were holding a vote of their own and, like the Georgia Tech students, were ready to take a stand.
“We all got together and voted not to go to the Sugar Bowl if Bobby Grier was not allowed to play,” said Bob Rosborough, who was a right end for Pitt and a teammate of Grier. “He was one of us and we would rather not play than leave one of ours behind.”
Continue reading “Pitt Does the Right Thing; Changes the US”