In recent weeks, athletes across the country have been speaking out about police brutality and systematic racism in America. We’ve seen it here on our own campus with different coaches and athletes taking a stand and speaking their own truth, showing a clear change in how LSU’s student athletes are able to express themselves since the Alton Sterling killing in 2016.
LSU women’s basketball coach Nikki Fargas was the first LSU coach to say anything publicly about the death of George Floyd. Rising sophomore guard Domonique Davis has been one of the most outspoken college athletes I’ve seen across the country in recent weeks. The LSU women’s basketball team is the only team on campus to release a full statement together acknowledging the injustices they are fighting to change, but athletes across all sports have made their voices heard.
We would like to share this statement on behalf of our team. pic.twitter.com/eQ35jw7i65— LSU Women's Basketball (@LSUwbkb) June 1, 2020
It’s great that white male athletes like Joe Burrow, as well as LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri and basketball coach Will Wade have shown their support for the Black Live Matter movement. I love that former LSU men’s basketball player Skylar Mays attended a peaceful protest in Baton Rouge last week.
The LSU gymnastics team has even met as a team (virtually) to discuss the racism surrounding this state and country, sparking this post from rising senior Olivia Gunter.
Almost made it to all my platforms. Anyway, read this if you’d like pic.twitter.com/i0JgpDM6vf— Olivia Gunter (@GunterOlivia) June 9, 2020
Again, it’s amazing that we have so many people speaking up for the cause, but we would be remiss if we did not acknowledge the lengths black women have gone to and the online and verbal abuse they have been enduring for many years to do the same thing.
Former LSU softball All-American A.J. Andrews has been outspoken on the topic herself, using her platform by hosting a weekly Instagram live for The Players’ Tribune — called At Home With A.J. — to have conversations about those heavy topics.
“It’s time for a change. It’s time for unity, love and growth and I’m hurt, disappointed, but mostly determined to be apart of that change #bethechange #blm #blacklivesmatter,” Andrews said on her own Twitter post.
Black female atheltes are and always have been at the forefront of the protests against racial injustice. Even at the beginning of the Black Lives Matter movement.
The WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx were among the first to stand with Colin Kaepernick. LSU’s own Seimone Augustus (2002-06) stood along side her Lynx teammates — Maya Moore, Lindsay Whalen and Rebekkah Brunson — in shirts that said “Change Starts With Us: Justice & Accountability” following the police killings of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling in 2016. *Note: Another former Tiger Sylvia Fowles (2004-2008) was part of that team but is not pictured below
"This is a human issue & we need to speak up for change, together." -Maya pic.twitter.com/tyfl65Ag81— Minnesota Lynx (@minnesotalynx) July 9, 2016
Similar protests spread across the league. Speaking out isn’t an easy thing to do. Just look at the comments on LSU football’s last tweet. That’s what makes what these women across the WNBA did four years ago, when almost nobody in the NFL would stand (or kneel per se) with Kaepernick, that much more impactful.
But don’t disregard the work that black women have done to push this movement forward for almost five years now. I am both the only black person and the only woman on the ATVS staff — a staff, headed by PodKatt that has always made me feel welcomed regardless of that fact — and I need to make sure we as a whole don’t forget the work that black female athletes have been doing for so long.
I can only hope that the progress continue to move forward from here.