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KU women’s basketball organizes Black Lives Matter march

More college teams ramp up social justice activism
Posted at 11:01 PM, Aug 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-28 00:01:25-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — With the NBA playoffs on hiatus for a second straight night and more than a dozen other professional games across several sports canceled, the University of Kansas men’s basketball team also took a break from athletics.

Instead, the Jayhawks watched the movie “13th,” director Ava DuVernay's scathing documentary on the role systemic racism plays in the U.S. prison pipeline.

“We will continue to promote open conversations,” a tweet from the KU Hoops account said. “We will continue to educate, listen, and learn. There are some things much bigger than basketball.”

The KU women’s basketball team will lead a rally Friday “in support of Black Lives Matter and the fight against social injustice.”

Masks will be required at the march, which is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. at the Stouffer Apartments.

The event is “hosted by student athletes,” but “all are welcome to join.”

Jayhawks Athletic Director Jeff Long said he will join the “peaceful march for change” and encouraged others to join, using the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter.

KU football’s Unity Council also released a statement Thursday night in the wake of Jacob Blake’s shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Calling the shooting “brutal and inhumane” as well as “yet another example example of discrimination by rogue members of the modern day police,” the Unity Council said:

“We are sick and tired of the systematic racism and inequality towards minorities that continues in this country. Enough is enough!”

Blake was shot in the back seven times by Rusten Sheskey, a white police officer who followed Blake around his car and was grabbing the back of Blake’s shirt as he leaned into the driver’s side front food Sunday after being called to a disturbance.

The Unity Council’s statement, which was signed by 17 players, ended with a vow not to remain silent:

“The University of Kansas football team stands firm against systematic racism, social injustice, and police brutality against people of color. We will continue to do everything in our power to educate and promote meaningful change so that this generation, and the generations to come, will no longer have to live in fear as we currently do. It is past the point of remaining silent. We believe that all lives cannot matter until we acknowledge that Black Lives Matter.”

Unity Council, University of Kansas football team

The University of Missouri men’s basketball team also is educating itself during the summer break.

Coach Cuonzo Martin, an outspoken voice for change, said the team is reading “The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row” — an autobiography by Anthony Ray Hinton, who was wrongfully convicted of murder and spent three decades on death row.

Meanwhile, Kansas State men’s basketball coach offered his support for the Milwaukee Bucks and other NBA teams who elected not to play Wednesday night’s playoffs games.