University of Dayton basketball players have shared their thoughts about how to impact change to ending racism and racial injustice. Photo of George Floyd protest courtesy of Flickr.
100 days on from the tragic killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, athletes and coaches around the country and the world have taken a stand for racial justice, together against police brutality and injustice.
The response shown by the rest of the sports world has not been lost at the University of Dayton, where athletes have shared their thoughts and hopes for a future of equality.
For too long, the black community has faced mass incarceration, racial profiling and stereotyping, and countless deaths at the hands of police officers. Each of these factors drive the emotional response felt by UD athletes, which has been shared to the largest audience by the basketball teams.
In a post to the Instagram pages of both the men’s and women’s basketball teams on July 16, the athletes shared a message simply titled, “It’s time for a change.”
In the video message, standout women’s basketball senior guard Araion Bradshaw began by sharing how “judgment is often made before getting to know someone.”
“Individuals tend to formulate an opinion of another person based merely on the color of their skin,” Bradshaw said. “Bypassing the opportunity to get to know who they are as human beings. This has to stop. We need to impact change today. Right now, we need to change the narrative. So before you judge us, please know-”
“I am more than an athlete,” men’s basketball senior guard Rodney Chatman interjected.
On the court, Bradshaw and Chatman are known for their tenacity, grit and willingness to do whatever it takes to win. During the exciting 2019-20 season that was a massive success for both the men’s and women’s basketball teams, these two players consistently dove after loose balls, gave their all on defense and put themselves on the line for the betterment of their teams.
The tenacity and grit they show on a daily basis on the basketball court is something that can and should be applied to how we, as Americans, attack racism and injustice on a daily basis.
In the rest of the video, many of the players from both teams were featured and shared messages for change, justice and equality.
In the time that has passed since mid-July, as the UD teams continue to practice for games that likely won’t be played this fall, the opportunity remains for their voices to be heard.
On Sept. 1, men’s basketball senior guard Camron Greer’s message for impacting change was shared on the team’s Instagram page.
“As student-athletes, I feel it is imperative that we use our platform to impact those around us,” Greer said. “We have 13,000-plus fans who support and look up to us on gameday. If we can sway just one person’s mindset, get one more person to vote, or instill morality into one child, then we’re on the right track.”