Robert Hampton, American Renaissance, June 19, 2020
Many black athletes are refusing to play until their teams and leagues bend the knee to Black Lives Matter. Oklahoma State football player Chuba Hubbard is the latest. Mr. Hubbard tweeted Monday that he would not play “until things CHANGE.” He was responding to a picture of his head coach Mike Grundy wearing a One America News t-shirt. One America is a fervently pro-Trump, conservative outlet. “I will not stand for this,” Mr. Hubbard said. “This is completely insensitive to everything going on in society, and it’s unacceptable.” Mr. Hubbard was the leading rusher in college football last year, so his threat mattered.
Mr. Gundy duly apologized Monday night. The player and the coach released a video saying that changes are coming. The star athlete promised in a tweet that his “foot [was] still on the gas” and “It’s not over.” Mr. Hubbard’s boycott threat was supported by many current and former OSU players, who all agreed there must be “change.” No one has said what the “change” must be.
Last week, several athletes at the University of Texas supported a letter demanding the school rename buildings honoring “racists,” tear down statues of whites and replace them with “diverse” sculptures, donate 0.5 percent of the athletics department’s earnings to Black Lives Matter, and replace the school song with one without “racist undertones.” “The Eyes of Texas” was originally performed in minstrel shows over a century ago.
The players said they would practice and play but wouldn’t help with recruitment or donor events until their demands are met. “We aim to hold the athletic department and university to a higher standard by not only asking them to keep their promise of condemning racism on our campus,” the letter said, “but to go beyond this by taking action to make Texas more comfortable and inclusive for the black athletes and black community.”
Nearly 40 UT athletes shared the letter on social media. “Texas football player for a couple years, but Black forever,” UT wide receiver Jordan Whittington said in his post. Athletic director Chris Del Conte says he is looking forward to “meaningful conversations” with players.
Clemson University announced last week it would change the name of its honors college following pressure from former Clemson football stars. The college was named after Vice President John C. Calhoun, a legendary American lawmaker and probably the most famous South Carolinian in history. Clemson alumnus and Houston Texans quarterback DeAndre Hopkins said Calhoun was an “oppressive figure.”
University of Cincinnati baseball player Jordan Ramey started a petition to change the name of his school’s baseball stadium. It is named after former Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott, who allegedly used racial slurs. Over 5,000 people have signed so far.
There are successful precedents for college athlete protests. University of Missouri president Tim Wolfe resigned in 2015 after the school’s football team threatened to sit out all games if he didn’t leave office. Mr. Wolfe didn’t bow to black protesters’ demands, so he had to go; the threat from players sent him packing.
Professional sports leagues are getting the same treatment. Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving is urging fellow players not to play until there is “social reform,” whatever that turns out to be. “I’m not with the systematic racism and the bullshit,” he said. “We are targeted as black men every day we wake up.” He added that he is willing to give up “everything” for “social reform.”
Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard agrees. “European Colonization stripped us of our rich history, and we have yet to sit down and figure us out,” he said in a statement. “The less distractions, the more we can put into action into rediscovering ourselves. . . . No Basketball till we get things resolved.” LeBron James wants to play but also wants to be an activist. He’s starting a group to stop “voter suppression” and get more blacks to the polls.
While black NBA players are free to support Black Lives Matter, a radio station fired white NBA announcer Grant Napear for tweeting “All Lives Matter.” He also resigned from his position as a Sacramento Kings play-by-play announcer and posted an apology, claiming he was “not as educated on BLM as I thought.”
The National Football League recently scrapped its long-standing requirement that players stand for the national anthem, and apologized for that oppressive rule. The league’s white commissioner, Roger Goodell, also took a rhetorical knee: “We, the National Football League, believe black lives matter. I personally protest with you and want to be part of the much-needed change in this country.”
Some blacks aren’t satisfied. “I think we should have been questioning why Roger Goodell didn’t say black lives matter when he was born, or when he became commissioner or when he was re-elected commissioner,” Baltimore Ravens linebacker Matthew Judon told reporters on Monday. Free-agent defensive end Michael Bennett called Mr. Goodell’s statement a “slap in the face.” He says the league has “exploited” blacks for decades.
Seventy players and staffers from the Denver Broncos marched with Black Lives Matter protesters earlier this month. They wore shirts that declared: “If You Ain’t With Us, You Against Us.”
Professional athletes from other sports, including Major League Baseball and NASCAR, also released videos in support of Black Lives Matter. NASCAR, an overwhelmingly white sport with a white fan base, recently announced it would ban Confederate flags.
Black Power may hurt profits. NFL game attendance and viewership dropped in the wake of national-anthem protests in 2016 and 2017. The near-unanimous support for left-wing causes could annoy more fans. Athletes need fans; fans don’t need athletes. White should turn their backs on these sports. Don’t support people who hate you.