Welcome to 2020 ladies and gentlemen. It’s only June but so far this year we’ve seen the death of an Icon in Kobe Bryant, lost the Clean Up Woman Betty Wright, anticipated murder hornets, and experienced the worst pandemic in the last 100 years.
If those things were not enough, we have also dealt with the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Rayshard Brooks and have watched or participated in demonstrations across the country from major cities like New York, Minneapolis, and Chicago to small towns like Denham Springs, Louisiana, Vidor, Texas and Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
Those deaths, and many before, combined with the demonstrations have sparked an awakening of Black student-athletes who are now using their voice to not only call out problems within their programs but also problems on campus and with fans. Power Five coaches are now under the spotlight for racial insensitivity from Iowa to Pittsburgh to Clemson to Oklahoma State and now West Virginia.
Iowa’s Chris Doyle was the highest-paid strength coach in college football until he was relieved of his duties in mid-June after allegations surfaced that he mistreated Black players. Dozens of former Hawkeye players took to Twitter and discussed unfair treatment that they received while at Iowa. Clemson assistant Danny Pearman used a racial slur during a practice in 2017 towards a former player but head coach Dabo Swinney failed to punish him, which caused an uproar.
Right after this incident surfaced, Oklahoma State head football coach Mike Gundy’s star player stated that he would withhold from all team activities after seeing his coach wearing the shirt of a far-right network which has said some controversial things regarding Black people. Gundy and his player made an awkward video setting aside their differences.
Just this week one of the top running backs in the SEC, Kylin Hill, stated that he would not play at Mississippi State this season unless the state flag, which bears the Confederate flag, is changed.
Exhausted? Whew, take a breath.