Posted on March 13, 2024

NAACP Calls for Black Student-Athletes to Boycott Universities in Florida Over DEI Policy

Cheyanne M. Daniels, The Hill, March 11, 2024

The NAACP is urging Black student-athletes to boycott Florida universities after the University of Florida terminated all diversity, equity and inclusion positions on campus.

The university’s decision follows a new state policy that prohibits public and state institutions from using government funds on equity and inclusion programs.

“This is not about politics,” reads the letter, which was sent Monday. “It’s about the protection of our community, the progression of our culture, and most of all, it’s about your education, and your future.”

The letter continued, “This is not simply about sports; it’s about acknowledging and advocating for the rights and supports of Black students within educational environments.”

The letter is signed by Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP, and Leon W. Russell, chair of the NAACP’s national board of directors.

They state that Florida’s new DEI stance follows a line of anti-Black policies enacted by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis. They add that DeSantis “has made no effort to conceal his administration’s devaluation of Black America” and is now waging a war on Black America.

“Florida’s rampant anti-Black policies are a direct threat to the advancement of our young people and their ability to compete in a global economy,” Johnson said in a statement.

“The value Black and other college athletes bring to large universities is unmatched,” he added. “If these institutions are unable to completely invest in those athletes, it’s time they take their talents elsewhere.”

The University of Florida, Florida State University and the University of South Florida have some of the most prominent football and basketball programs in the country, generating more than $177 million in revenue between July 1, 2021, and June 30, 2022, according to the Department of Education.

But Florida isn’t the only Republican-led state pushing back on “woke” programs such as DEI initiatives.

An NBC News analysis found that GOP lawmakers in more than 30 states have introduced or passed more than 100 bills to either restrict or regulate DEI efforts this legislative season.