Following the death of George Floyd in Minnesota last month, protests have spread across the country as well as a renewed focus and discussion regarding inequality and racism in the US.
Student athletes aren’t immune from the feeling that so many are experiencing. Michigan Wolverines athletic director Warde Manuel, who became just the 3rd active black Big Ten AD upon his hiring in 2016, explained that several of the school’s black student athletes are going through a difficult time amidst the social unrest.
“In this time, many of our black student-athletes are hurting,” Manuel said. “I’m hurting as a black man, and it is something that we’re going to continue to work toward and fix and make better in our society.
“It has been a tough time for all of us as we deal with both the coronavirus and the planning that needs to take place,” Manuel said, “as well as the social unrest given what happened to George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks, Breonna Taylor and others. Very difficult times for us all, difficult times for our student-athletes, and we will continue to go through it.”
Several notable figures in the Wolverines sports community have taken part in peaceful protests in recent weeks, including football head coach Jim Harbaugh and basketball forward Isaiah Livers.
Manuel also confirmed that he welcomes athletes and coaches to use their platform to bring about change in society.
“I have made sure that they understand that I want them to be proactive, take actions to move the needle, whether its registration to vote, voting, whether it’s taking a knee if they want to do that and want to explain how they feel about it and why,” he explained. “And to really just continue to move us forward as a society, as a university, as a community.”
– – Quotes via Evan Petzold of The Detroit Free Press Link – –