Aug. 28, 1963 – Thousands of people gathered at the Washington Monument in Washington D.C. for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Now 57 years later to the day, Temple football skipped practice and training for a team-wide conversation on social justice and racial inequality. At the same time student-athletes that are members of the Owls for Justice organization traveled to D.C for the 57th Anniversary of the March on Washington.
“With all the social justice issues going around in the nation, we felt like, and it was really lead by my leadership council and I followed and then helped facilitate having a change in schedule today, where we could address this issue as a team, as in team in small groups and then in different groups,” said coach Rod Carey. “I’m really pretty fired up about it and all the things that were done and how I feel like we as a group moved forward today. I was really proud of the guys.”
Across the nation, teams both at the professional and collegiate level have boycotted games and practice to have meaningful discussion and send messages of social justice and equality on social media. College teams like Temple, including Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Boston College, and Kentucky all have had similar boycotts and discussions.
“I got 125 players in my position group, and it gets to be a challenge, so when we do something like this it gives me an opportunity to dig into the weeds where a lot of the times you don’t have that ability,” said Carey. “And then COVID-19 on top of it, we haven’t been face to face a lot besides on the field so it’s challenging it’s no question but today was really good,”
Carey grew up in Wayzetta, Minnesota about 10 miles away from downtown Minneapolis, and has several personal connections to some of the protests and issues, with friends and family being directly impacted by the unrest in response to murder of George Floyd.
Players have also shown some discontent about the current situation via social media. Sophomore running back Re’Mahn Davis posted on Instagram – “We want and demand your support, until I feel that you support as a human being and not only as a player I’m done.”
However, some players were very appreciative of the discussions that took place today. Redshirt junior wide receiver Jadan Blue posted on Twitter, “Learned more today than maybe I have in my entire life, conversation matters.”
The team will resume practice and training next week to prepare for the tentative start of the season on September 26th.