Missouri Athletes Shining A Light on Racism and Inequality
This post was edited on 9/2/2020 to reflect a new route for the march at Mizzou due to COVID-19 concerns.
Some collegiate and professional athletes are using their notoriety and leadership skills from sports to create better communities, an ultimately, a better America for all of us through shining a light on social justice issues. Notably student athletes at Mizzou; and the St. Louis Cardinals' Dexter Fowler and Jack Flaherty.
On Friday the Mizzou Tigers Football Team and their coaches cancelled practice "to focus on the current state of our country." The football team released a statement on Twitter saying they hope to promote change. Additionally the student athletes want to shed light on the injustices of racism and police brutality and try to bring about changes in government, law enforcement and youth in pursuit of equality for all.
On Wednesday night Mizzou athletes will march through campus calling for social justice. According to the St. Louis Post - Dispatch the march is being planned by Defensive lineman Kobie Whitesides along with track and field athletes Cason Suggs and Olivia Evans. Suggs is the president of the Black Student Athlete Association.
A flyer organizers put together says “March with your Mizzou Athletics family to shine light on the social injustices in our society."
Dexter Fowler and Jack Flaherty of the Cardinals have been speaking out. As has the Kansas City Chiefs Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce. As have many collegiate and professional athletes across America.
The article in the Post - Dispatch mentions college athletes at Tennessee, Texas, Oklahoma, Alabaman and Mississippi are having or have had similar marches. And the Milwaukee Bucks boycott of their game on August 26 to protest the shooting of Jacob Blake by police in Kenosha, a Wisconsin city about 45 minutes from Milwaukee, may go down as the event that put athletes in the position to bring social justice issues to light and try to create change.
After the George Floyd killing Cardinal Dexter Fowler articulated why Blacks are outraged, and why things need to change in America:
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Here’s the thing. I know it’s hard to fully grasp why black people are outraged. It’s hard to grasp unless you’ve seen people hold their purses tighter when you walk by, when you have people refer to you as “not black” when you’re not “ghetto”. When your parents have to give you a talk when you’re just a kid. “you can’t act like your white friends. you’ll get killed. they won’t” This is a generational discussion EVERY black family has. It terrifies you as a kid, and as an adult. You don’t understand why we know, those officers didn’t flinch at murdering that man, because he is black. The race card. We hold it. You tell us “it’s not about race” if we ever hold you to it. You don’t want us to have even that 1 bone chilling “privilege” of defense. You don’t want us to hold any privilege. We don’t hold the privilege of being a criminal, making a mistake, or simply taking a jog, the same as a white man, and being treated the same. He couldn’t breathe. He was murdered. They were gently fired from their jobs. This isn’t right. This can’t go on. (if you assume “you”, is you, and you’re upset about the generalization...... just think about that for a second)
If what Mr. Fowler said doesn't stir up some emotions in you. Make you angry. Make you sad. Make you think. Make you want to be apart of a movement that creates a society where Black Americans don't experience these things. Then perhaps, as Mr. Fowler says, you need to think about that. If it does, then I bet the Mizzou Athletics family would be glad to have you march with them.
The march is Wednesday night at 6:00PM CDT. The march will kick off at The Columns on the Francis Quadrangle and end at Memorial Stadium. Marchers are encouraged to wear all black.
The opinions in this piece are those of the author, who agrees with his employer, Townsquare Media, that "we join the call for necessary change to achieve equality among people of all skin colors and cultural backgrounds."