Football

Texas Tech Football Cancels Practice on Friday to Raise Awareness of Social Injustice

Defensive back Cameron Watts tweeted the following on Thursday evening:

We as collective members of the Texas Tech University Football Team, stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the sports world throughout this country to protest the inhumane treatment of black and brown individuals by rogue law enforcement officials and the systemically racist power structure that fails to hold them accountable.

Rather than pretend these problems don’t exist and maintain a practice schedule that does not take into consideration the mental health issues derived from seeing our fellow citizens beaten and murdered in the streets on a daily basis, we will instead use this time to discuss these issues amongst ourselves and decide how to best move forward in a manner that will allow us to effectuate change here in Lubbock, as well as the cities we call home.

We welcome our coaches, support staff and university administration to engage in this process along with us. We know many in Red Raider Nation will not understand nor support these actions, however, we ask that you respect our rights to peacefully protest with the same energy that you cheer for us during the season.

The very blood that fuels the heart we display every Saturday on the field, also stimulates our minds to be the change we want to see in this world. We are at a point in time when the two can no longer be separated.

Thank You & God Bless

Head coach Matt Wells responded in a tweet:

Our Texas Tech football program – from our student athletes, coaches & staff – is committed to continuing to fight against social injustice. Discussions and action plans are being led by our student athletes and is our immediate focus. I stand beside them and with them in support and love. We want to inspire lasting change in our program, on our campus, in our community and our nation #WeUsOur

By the end of the evening, Avalanche-Journal’s Don Williams confirmed that practice would be canceled today.

I mentioned yesterday that these protests will happen on the college level at some point, I just never thought that it would be the next day.

I’ll say it again, if this makes you upset to the point that you cannot follow sports. Or college sports. Or Texas Tech. Then yes, just log off and find another hobby or something else to watch. These things are not going to change.

If you intend on making a comment about how taking a practice off isn’t going to make a change. Yes. The players know that things won’t change immediately and this movement is not about immediacy, but it is the only way black and brown players can display their power and make you aware that there is a problem with how black and brown people are treated.

If you think that the coaches should take away scholarships, well I’ll just let you wait on that. If you think that Wells has lost control of the program, I would tell you that’s probably not accurate, especially when Wells makes the comment above and Joel Filani is re-tweeting players who made the same comment. If you are now going to give up your season tickets, I would tell you that this won’t be a problem.

This is the deal from this point forward. This is what you’re going to have to bargain for to be a fan of sports moving forward until society changes and society doesn’t change quickly, it’s a glacier in terms of movement. You have to be okay with players deciding not to play in order to figure out how they can make their lives as black or brown players better when they’re not wearing that jersey.

If there’s no way that you could understand how players could do this or how coaches could be in support of players who want to express their displeasure with how black and brown people are treated and that they simply want equality, then I’d point you towards former Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury:

I think on that topic, we’ve had some conversations about all of what’s going on in the country. And I had a great conversation with my dad over the summer, and o his perspective on things was really valuable as we get closer to the season, and the anthem discussion, things of that nature. My dad was a longtime football coach, but also a Marine. Served in Vietnam, received a Purple Heart. And in talking to him, there were two words that really stood out. Number one was “respect” and the second thing was “understanding.”

I think respect the view points that people have on this topic and that they’re very personal and very passionate. And then respect their right to express themselves. I think you’ve got to understand at its core what it’s really about, it’s always been about drawing attention to social injustice. And that continues to take place. We saw it again this week with Jacob Blake. It’s about increasing awareness that racism exists. Police brutality agains[t] people of color continues to happen. And let’s not forget that or confuse it with something else or make the narrative different.

I think my biggest takeaway from talking to my dad was kneeling doesn’t reflect a lack of patriotism or respect for the military in any way, just like standing during the anthem doesn’t mean you’re okay with racism or social injustice. It’s important to respect and understand that. These are important issues, they need to be addressed, and important conversations that need to be had, and I’m grateful that I’ve been able to be around, like I said, a great group of guys that have enlightened me, hearing their stories and their struggles. So these conversations will continue throughout the year. I just hope we can all continue to push in the right direction.

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