It instantly became an iconic image: the two young black American athletes, John Carlos and Tommie Smith, standing shoeless on the victory platform for the medal ceremony at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, gloved fists raised in a black power salute as the Star Spangled Banner played, protesting apartheid and the racist practices of the International Olympic Committee: not for the glory or the attention, but because it was the right thing to do.

Peter Norman, the Australian sprinter who took the silver after Smith, stood bravely with them.

Carlos and Smith were thrown out of the relays and banished from the Olympic Village. Their medals remained in Mexico and they returned to America to ostracism and unemployment.

Sports writer Dave Zirin is calling for an apology from Brent Musburger, whose slander of Carlos and Smith remains especially repulsive:

After 44 Years, It’s Time Brent Musburger Apologized to
John Carlos and Tommie Smith
By Guest Blogger Dave Zirin of The Nation

Carlos & Smith stand with statues at San Jose State University

(L-R) Tommie Smith and John Carlos accept the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage as they were given the award for their black-gloved fist salute at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics onstage at the 2008 ESPY Awards held at NOKIA Theatre L.A. LIVE on July 16, 2008 in Los Angeles, California.