About two weeks ago, the University of Oklahoma’s Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity made national news after video was released of fraternity members reciting a racist chant. If you watch the news or follow social media, you are aware of the affects and consequences that followed with this story.
What many fail to notice is the stand the football team is taking to make sure their voices are heard. The day after the video was released players refused to show up to morning workouts. Head coach Bob Stoops and players came to a conclusion after many meetings to cancel all practices that week and silently protest instead.
The team, hand-and-hand, marched out to Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial stadium in black to protest the actions that had gone on earlier. Players, like Ty Darlington and Trevor Knight, briefly spoke to media about what the program wanted to do to see change and cause awareness.
Many thought that with spring break the week after this debacle, things would die down. But as shown on instagram, the Oklahoma football players had wrote out a statement saying how they will use their platform to cause awareness.
After returning to the field Monday, every player had a surprise in their locker- a pair of black cleats and a black jersey to help live true to their statement. The slogan the university is using to show that discrimination will not be tolerated is “Not in OUr House”. Half the team in white jerseys and the other half in black jerseys is an example of two colors coming together. That’s the change they want to show.
Without getting into the dilemma of the video or discussing the racism, I think it is important as young individuals to see what is possible when we come together. The OU football team is a great example of trying to make a change and not letting down until the cause is heard. Through their actions of silent protest, supporting one another, and making clothing statements at practice they are using the means they have to advocate for real progress. They don’t want the issue to just be swept under the rug.
In the college football world, sports enthusiasts are constantly caught up in the newest scandal or rumors about athletes. The Oklahoma Sooners have taken that spotlight and twisted it to raise awareness about a real issue that is still prevalent today. With continued awareness and positive influence, the Sooners are making the issue prevalent every day. They don’t want people to ignore it. Positive change is what our generation needs to continue to strive for and the OU football team is a perfect example of how to begin that process.
*Section Photo credit to Kevin Jairaj, USA Today Sports; Featured Photo (above) credit to ChatSports