It has been over 50 years since the Civil Rights movement began, yet Americans still deal with racism and prejudice on a daily basis.
This spring, Oklahoma linebacker Eric Striker recorded a SnapChat video (warning: NSFW language) in response to a racist frat video taken on campus. When his message went viral, Striker’s words have inspired many other college football players and coaches to share their feelings about race and its relation to the sport.
Ole Miss linebacker C.J. Johnson expressed his thoughts on the Confederate flag in an ESPN article written by Edward Aschoff and and Adam Rittenberg, titled “13 voices, 13 perspectives on Eric Striker, race and college football.”
“It sickens me when I see [a Confederate flag] on people’s cars on campus. If you have the Confederate flag on your vehicle, you have a problem. And I don’t care if it’s socially what you believe in or it’s morally what you believe in or you’re just doing it for s—s and giggles. It’s just the fact of what it stands for. It’s almost like you might as well put a tag on the front of your car that says ‘n—–.’ That’s really what it boils down to. You might as well just put a big tag on the front of your car or hang a big flag on the back of your car and just say the N-word.”
But racism exists outside of symbols, and it isn’t just found in states like Oklahoma or Mississippi. Linebacker James Onwualu told ESPN about the prejudice he faces in his major at Notre Dame.
“You’re stereotyped as a football player because you’re black. … That’s where the racism on this campus shows up. I’m a finance major, so when we’re put in groups and we have to put all these financial models together, I’m not necessarily the first one to be looked at. I’m not someone people will walk up to and say, ‘Hey, do you want to be in our group?’ I always end up in the athletes’ group. I use it somewhat as motivation. It’s like, ‘You don’t want me in the group?’ I’ll do better on the project.”
If any good comes from the racist Oklahoma frat video, it will be in the fact that people around college football are now open to talking about it.
Check out the ESPN piece to read the other 11 quotes, including responses from Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze, Florida defensive end Jonathan Bullard and Vandy coach Derek Mason.
13 voices, 13 perspectives on Eric Striker, race and college football — Very powerful quotes in here http://t.co/UdOU64pqir
— Edward Aschoff (@AschoffESPN) September 17, 2015