Four days after police officers shot Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, several times in the back in Kenosha, Wis., boycotts, protests and statements are sprawling across the American sports landscape.
The University of Nebraska men’s basketball team, which is coached by former Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg, added their voices to calls for justice and change Thursday.
Twelve players plus Hoiberg assembled outside of the Hendricks Training Complex and in front of assorted media Thursday afternoon, all dressed in black T-shirts, shorts and face masks. To begin the proceedings, each player stepped up a podium erected in front of the complex and said into a microphone, “I stand here today for…” followed by the names of different Black people that have perished or otherwise been a victim of police or racist violence.
The names listed: Jacob Blake, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmad Aubrey, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Aura Rosser, Tanisha Anderson, Stephon Clark, Mike Brown, Alton Sterling.
Hoiberg went last in the procession, saying: “I stand here today for all Black lives.”
After Hoiberg moved aside, junior guards Kobe Webster and Teddy Allen rose to the podium and combined to deliver a statement on behalf of the team.
“We stand together as one to find ways to educate people to hopefully stop this terrible trend of lives being lost for no reason. This is not a political fight. This is about being a decent human being,” Webster said. “We know we are not going to change everything that is going on by standing here today. The goal for us is simply to make our community and our state stand behind in not accepting these injustices.”
"We are tired of talking about the same things over and over while losing precious lives along the way," Allen said. "Are we fighting a pointless fight? How many more hashtags need to be created by the police for people to start caring? We cannot only care when it is convenient. We cannot only care when it impacts us directly. Caring about someone else's life should fall within basic human ideals. We are standing here together as Black and white people making it clear that we are sickened by the events taking place in our country involving police brutality and systematic [sic] injustices towards Black people.
“We want to play a role in change, and we want you all to join us. No more hashtags, only change,” he said to conclude the conference.
Hoiberg later added to his support for his players via social media, writing, “Proud of these guys. I stand behind them 100%” on Twitter.