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College sports world takes to social media to call for solidarity

UCLA guard Bryce Alford and La Cueva High alumnus squats on the court after an NCAA college basketball tournament South Regional semifinal game against Kentucky Friday, March 24, 2017, in Memphis, Tenn. Kentucky won 86-75. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)

Protests and demonstrations of racial injustice in the United States have again taken center stage in our country in recent days since Monday’s death of George Floyd in Minnesota.

Some in the sports world, including in the college athletics arena where young black athletes make up a high percentage of the primary revenue and most prominent sports of football and men’s basketball, have chosen to join in on the dialogue as well.

Others have not.

Here is a look at some social media dialogue via Twitter from sports figures with Albuquerque ties:

• UNM Athletic Director Eddie Nuñez on Saturday shared a Nike video that included the message “Don’t pretend there’s not a problem in America. Don’t turn your back on racism.” Nuñez added the following:

“Let’s stand together and let’s all be a part of the change.”

• UNM women’s basketball coach Mike Bradbury on Saturday:

“The occurrences in our country have taken a toll on us all in different ways. We have acknowledged and discussed the series of events. We are deeply saddened by such devastation. We 100% support what is right – and that is equality and solidarity of humankind.

“We understand that it is an ongoing battle and plan to do our part. Our thoughts and prayers are with not only the Floyd family, but the families of those who have experienced similar tragedy.”

• Former UNM Lobos basketball coach Fran Fraschilla on Saturday (two tweets):

Tweet 1, “College coaches have incredible opportunity to speak out LOUDLY against racial injustice. You have worked your entire careers mentoring & coaching young black men to be good fathers, husbands & community leaders. It’s time. Your players need YOUR voices.”

Tweet 2, “Take the lead, coaches. I thought I was doing my part to tweet out a Martin Luther King, Jr. quote or a Tony Dungy article. It makes you feel good but accomplishes nothing.”

• La Cueva High School graduate and former UCLA Bruin Bryce Alford on Friday:

“As a white man I’ve always felt nervous to speak up about these racial issues because I didn’t want to say the wrong thing. I’ll never know what it’s like to be a person of color in America. But being silent is worse and I refuse to be part of the problem.

• UNM President Garnett Stokes on Friday:

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”—Martin Luther King, Jr.

There is never room for violence and racism at @UNM.”

• Boise State football coach Bryan Harsin on Saturday:

“With what is going on right now in our country, it has become clear that the conversations we have as a team need to spread beyond our walls. The hate, the discord, the belief that voices are falling on deaf ears — it needs to change. Now. There is no place for it in our program and it shouldn’t have a place in our society. We all need to be better, and it started with each and every one of us caring for all we encounter regardless of color, politics or any other difference we might have.”

• UTEP men’s basketball coach Rodney Terry on Saturday:

“It was gut wrenching for me to watch the images on video I saw earlier this week.

“It hit so close to home for a number of obvious reasons. … The past three days I spend time with my mother and it was emotional to hear her tell me stories like the ones we are witnessing today. It took everything in me not to break down.

“I hope all of us check ourselves, show some courage and make the right personal decisions to help stop this legacy of de-humanizing other Americans. It’s simply not right and I’m committed to doing my part in helping positively impact the people and young men in my circle of influence so future generations don’t have to experience this pain and suffering.”

• Nikole Brown, mother of UNM Lobo football recruit Greg Brown on Friday:

“This is my son, an honor student and offensive lineman at the University of New Mexico. He’s big, has long hair, tattoos and wears earrings. He is not in any way a threat to you unless you are lined up against him on the football field! Let him live his life!”

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