By late August 1968, however, the inability of the San Jose–based OPHR to communicate effectively with several black likely Olympians across the country and mainstream pressure and state harassment made the boycott unlikely. From the start of the campaign in late 1967, the federal government’s domestic counterintelligence programs (COINTELPRO) harassed Edwards, Smith, and several participating athletes. Beginning in 1967, the government targeted militant and leftist activists whose causes might increase the United States’ susceptibility to a communist takeover. By the end of 1969, COINTELPRO activity was complicit in the deaths of at least ten Black Panthers and the arrest of hundreds of other black and antiwar activists. COINTELPRO files accessed later demonstrate that Edwards and Smith were under constant surveillance during the period of the campaign. Other athletes and their spouses lost jobs and scholarships. Smith, Carlos, and Lee Evans, also a student- athlete associated with the OPHR, suggested that sports officials attempted to keep them off the Olympic team by cheating them out of victories during the summer races that determined eligibility for the Olympic team. The harassment and the OPHR’s inability to contact several athletes led to discord and confusion among several black athletes. In particular, Edwards failed to obtain an audience with the black women Olympians, thus alienating a group whose participation was critical to the campaign’s access. But the major reason for the failure of the boycott was simply that the vast majority of the athletes being asked to participate could not understand what would be gained by such a sacrifice on their part, when the window for high-level, prestigious international competition is open only for a short time for most of them. Ali at least had a religious reason for his opposition to the draft, and presumably a spiritual reward awaited him in the great by and by. But what was their reason for a boycott—to protest what, exactly—and what would be their reward, spiritual or otherwise? Beleaguered, but buoyed by the attention he attracted to issues of poverty, in early September 1968, Edwards announced that there would be no boycott.