Oklahoma’s football team has skipped out on practice twice this week as the program continues to unite and take a stand against the racist video from an Oklahoma fraternity rocked the campus. A day after putting a second spring football practice on ice, the team released a statement calling for the university to continue an investigation of the executive board of Sigma Alpha Epsilon.
“In light of the recent release of an undeniably, disgustingly racist video featuring members of a fraternity at our university, we the student-athletes of the University of Oklahoma football team have met to discuss the underlying issues that are at the heart of the matter,” a statement shared by Trevor Knight on Twitter opens.
“As a team, our goal first and foremost is to raise awareness of racism and discrimination on college campuses nationwide,” the statement said. “Moving forward, we seek to continued to raise awareness for this issue and reiterate that this is much greater than football.”
President Boren intends to meet with the captains of the football team, as well as Athletics Director Joe Castiglione, after students return from Oklahoma’s spring break.
“I look forward to meeting with President Boren and our football captains to discuss the University’s investigation of the possible culpability of the fraternity’s leadership in this matter,” Castiglione said in a released statement. “The OU Athletics Department has been engaged in ongoing dialogue with our student-athletes regarding a variety of topics, and we appreciate this open exchange to further enhance the experience of all students at the University of Oklahoma.”
Let’s get a couple of things out of the way regarding these two statements from the leaders at Oklahoma. First, it probably comes off in a poor light seeing university leaders getting together with captains of the football team to discuss an investigation ongoing regarding a fraternity not related to the football program. But it does make some sense when it was the football program that got together to send a loud statement of unity earlier this week by joining together, along with coaches, to put spring football practice on hold and focus on a more important social issue on campus.
Which brings me to the next point. The leaders of the football program should continue to be commended for their response to this issue on campus, and it is a positive to see the message sent by football players, members of the university’s community, have their voice heard on a sensitive manner. Some may choose to twist this as a football first mentality, but sometimes the actions of a football team have carry a positive impact, and it is important to allow for that as well.
UPDATE (2:51 p.m.): Here is the full statement from the Oklahoma players, courtesy of Trevor Knight’s Twitter account;
— Trevor Knight (@trevor_knight9) March 12, 2015