As we celebrate June 19th or better known as Juneteenth, the date where enslaved Texans finally got the news that two and a half years prior the Emancipation Proclamation declared them free, there is another awakening that is starting to catch on due to the current climate in America. As we are all expressing our collective voices to oppressive systems, this has also made its way to college athletics. I can think of nothing more celebratory within a small community, than to have a high school star athlete get a scholarship. It is one of the things that makes you smile with pride. I had my opportunities to play at other places, but I ended up at one of the best universities in the country that happens to be an HBCU, North Carolina A&T. It taught me more valuable lessons about life and this world than I believe I could have gotten anywhere else.
Within this awakening, black athletes on predominantly white institutions, most of who have signed some kind of grant-in-aid assistance, are coming to a point where they are starting to be vocal about not just their playing status, but where & who they are playing for. Two cases come to mind, Asia Todd, former basketball player at Liberty University and Chuba Hubbard, running back at Oklahoma State University. Todd stated on her social media channels that, "Due to the racial insensitivities shown within the leadership and culture, it simply does not align with my moral compass or personal convictions." This was after Liberty’s President Jerry Falwell, Jr. tweeted out a picture of a person in blackface and of the Ku Klux Klan. Hubbard was upset, after a picture came out of his head coach Mike Gundy wearing a One America Network shirt. One America has been known to broadcast propagandist material particularly against the Black Lives Matter Movement. Hubbard and Gundy have since ironed things out, Todd is currently in the transfer portal.
Many other former and current college athletes are voicing their opinions about the racial conditions happening on college campuses. Whether it is the calling of statues of confederate slave owning figures to be taken down or changing the names of buildings of those same kinds of people who stood for the demise of black people, there is an awakening of black athletes at these schools. My question or more than anything my charge to the present and future athletes and prospects is to make sure that these institutions and coaches are not just for the winning, but they are for who you are as a person. Please be certain that the institution you are about to step foot on cares about your existence beyond your playing ability. Beware of those institutions that celebrate your winning then goes to sing the alma mater that celebrates your ancestors being property. Scholarship money is great, but it is not worth being at a place that can cheer for you one day, yet not care about your plight, past or present.