On Wednesday, November 16, 2016, the Kent State University Men’s Basketball team surprised everyone who attended the Golden Eagles home opener against Mississippi Valley State. After weeks of planning, the players mustered up enough courage to walk into the bleachers of their game and gather fans to stand up during the national anthem with them. Each player selected a fan of a different race to stand with them in unity during the anthem. The reception from the fans was warm; as they accepted the players’ invitation.
“It was a special moment,” senior guard Deon Edwin said to ESPN after the MVS game. “We all came together as one. It wasn’t about color of skin. If we can do that at a small school, everyone can do it.”
Per the Golden Eagles’ Jimmy Hall, Edwin came up with the symbol of solidarity 3 weeks before their home opener. Edwin alongside his teammates approached their Head Coach Rob Senderoff with the idea. Senderoff supported and praised the idea.
“It takes courage for our players to make a statement like this, and I believe it is a representation of the unity in our campus community,” Senderoff told the Associated Press. “There’s a lot of people protesting the national anthem, or protesting the election, or religion. You see all of that nationally, and our guys wanted to make a statement. To me, it was a tremendously positive statement. Hopefully, everybody can recognize that. I have a lot of African American players on my team, and they have faced discrimination because of the color of their skin.”
The Golden Eagles action is one of many performed by college athletes who have taken a stand in solidarity. They used their platform to shed light on the social inequality, and injustice African Americans and people of colors face.
The athletes participating in the movement for unity range from collegiate to professional. NBA, NFL, WNBA, NCAAF, NCAAMB, U. S Swimming, and soccer are just a few of the leagues/sports that consist of players involved with the movement.
Links to more multimedia elements about the KSU Men’s Basketball story:
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