AUSTIN, Texas — On Friday, a large number of Texas Longhorn student athletes from varying sports banded together, sharing a statement on their social media accounts calling for change from the University of Texas in regard to racial injustice.
Some of their demands include renaming certain campus buildings, replacing statues, starting outreach programs and replacing "The Eyes of Texas."
If these demands are not met, the athletes say they will continue to practice and participate in all required team activities for the upcoming season, but they will not be participating in recruiting incoming players or any donor-related events.
A large number of athletes hopped on the trend on Friday afternoon, including Brennan Eagles, TaQuon Graham, Josh Thompson, Caden Sterns, Keondre Coburn, Kenyatta Watson, Ayodele Adeoye, Marqez Bimage and more.
Here is the full transcript of the statement:
Here at the University of Texas, we live by the saying, "What starts here changes the world." The role of a student athlete at The University of Texas brings with it responsibilities beyond that of the average student. We are expected to serve as ambassadors for the university, our respective programs, the student body, and at times, the entire State of Texas. As ambassadors, it is our duty to utilize our voice and role as leaders in the community to push for change to the benefit of the entire UT community.
The recent events across the country regarding racial injustice have brought to light the systemic racism that has always been prevalent in our country as well as the racism that has historically plague our campus. As a student athlete body, we have had many conversations about how Texas can actively take charge. our athletic department released a statement acknowledging these injustices and publicly supported the rights of student athletes using their voices to make change. We, as student athletes, and collectively as the University of Texas Longhorn football team, are aware that we are an athletic department made up of many black athletes, and believe that it is time we become active on our campus.
We aim to hold the athletic department and university to a higher standard by not only asking them to keep their promise of condemning racism on our campus, but to go beyond this by taking action to make Texas more comfortable and inclusive for the black athletes and the black community that has so fervently supported this program.
On behalf of the UT student athletes, we ask to have the following issues addressed through implementation or a plan for implementation at the start of the fall semester. We will continue to practice, workout, and participate in all required team activities in preparation for the upcoming season, but without an official commitment from the university we will not be participating in the recruiting of incoming players or donor-related events. We are asking our fellow student athletes to stand with us.
We officially request the following:
- The renaming of buildings:
- Robert Lee Moore Hall
- Painter Hall
- Littlefield Hall
- To include the patio cafe and fountain
- James Hogg Auditorium
- To include the permanent removal of the James Hogg statue
- The replacement of statues with more diverse statues on campus designed by artists/sculptors who are people of color
- The inclusion of modules for incoming freshmen discussing the history of racism on campus (ex. Texas Cowboys) and providing racial injustice awareness
- An outreach program for inner cities (Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio)
- More diversity in The Hall of Fame to include:
- Permanent black athletic history exhibit
- The UT Athletics Department to donate 0.5% of their annual earnings to black organizations and the BLM movement
- The renaming of an area of the stadium after Julius Whitter, the first black football player at UT
Changes regarding the entire black community at UT
- The replacement of The Eyes of Texas with a new song without racist undertones
- Lifting the requirement of athletes to sing the song
Former Longhorn Charles Omenihu responded, commending the current athletes' stance.
"Us alumni have known about the issues regarding racism on campus but didn’t know how to tackle it, but this group of guys have come together with a proposal that makes sense," he said.
Texas Athletic Director Chris Del Conte shared the following statement on Twitter regarding the posts:
"I am always willing to have meaningful conversations regarding any concerns our student-athletes have. We will do the same in this situation and look forward to having those discussions."
Here's a short collection of some of the athletes' posts:
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