More than 50 years after Eugene Carter was told he was not allowed to attend a basketball trip because of his race, he received a heartfelt letter of apology.
Former 1961 captain of the Newport Kentucky High School basketball team, Tom Owens, said he never forgot the incident.
Carter, along with two other black players weren’t allowed on the team trip to Atlanta because the opposing coach said they would not be welcome.
Owens’ letter in part reads:
Our apology does not excuse what happened and we ask forgiveness for our behavior due to the extreme ignorance and poor judgment. It is important however, that you know that we realize what a horrible experience this must have been for you guys and your families and we regret very much that it happened.
"It doesn't matter if we left one behind, or we left 10 behind, it was wrong,” said Owens. “I wish I had the courage and intestinal fortitude to stand up to my parents, coach, school administrators to say ‘I'm not going. We all go, or nobody goes.'"
Carter said he forgives his teammates and stressed the importance of fair treatment.
"It took a lot of heart for him to do that after all these years, but he said it has been bothering him since it happened,” said Carter. "Get along. We are all one. There is no difference between everybody. There is no sense of hatred or bigotry. We need to get by that. Treat everybody the way you want to be treated."
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