Texas athletes: Rename buildings, drop 'The Eyes of Texas'
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - A group of football players and athletes from the University of Texas from various sports asked the school on Friday to rename several campus buildings, change the traditional school song, and donate a percentage of the sports department's revenue to organizations that support the Blacks support lives matter movement.
The letter said it was sent on behalf of Longhorn student athletics. The soccer team will participate in all necessary team activities before the coming season, but players will not help recruit future players or participate in alumni events.
In the two-page, unsigned note published on social media by dozens of Longhorns athletes, the school's motto was: "What begins here changes the world." The group was asked to respond to its call to change campus release after nationwide protests broke out after George Floyd's death in detention in Minneapolis Police Department.
"Recent events across the country regarding racial injustice have brought to light the systemic racism that has always been prevalent in our country and the racism that has historically plagued our campus," the statement said.
'' We want to keep the sports department and university at a higher level by not only asking them to keep their promise to condemn racism on our campus, but also by taking measures to make Texas more comfortable and inclusive for black athletes and a black community that is so passionate about this program, ”the letter said.
Dozens of soccer players marched with coach Tom Herman from Campus to the State Capitol in honor of Floyd last week.
The players said they wanted the school to address their concerns about the campus promotion or plan by the start of the fall semester on August 26. It was not immediately clear whether the group had a leader or a speaker.
"I'm always ready to have meaningful discussions about the concerns of our student athletes," said sports director Chris Del Conte. "We will do the same in this situation and look forward to these discussions."
The letter said the players wanted the school to rename several campus buildings named after government and school officials associated with the Texas era of Jim Crow laws and segregation.
Players also want Texas, which has one of the richest sports departments in the country, to contribute 0.5% of annual sales, just over $ 1 million based on recent figures, to black organizations and the Black Lives Matter movement .
The letter also demanded that Texas no longer use its traditional song "The Eyes of Texas", which was criticized in the early 20th century for its connection to minstrel shows with black characters. The song is sung regularly at almost every organized campus event and players of all sports gather as a team to sing it after every game.
The group also wants part of the Royal Memorial Stadium to be named after Julius Whittier, the first black college soccer player in Texas. Whittier, who died in 2018, was a newcomer to the 1969 national championship team, the last all-white team to win a national title. Whittier did not play this season because newbies were not allowed under the NCAA rules.
Texas has previously tried to solve problems that affect some of the Confederate figures and racist politics in its history.
In 2010, the school removed the name of a former Ku Klux Klan leader from a dormitory and in 2015 removed a statue of former Confederate President Jefferson Davis. In 2017, the school removed several other confederate statutes, including General Robert E. Lee.
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