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Thursday, August 27, 2020

Enough is enough’: KU football players speak out against racism, police brutality

KU women's basketball players organize BLM march

Kansas cornerback Kyle Mayberry chats up his teammates during spring football practice on Tuesday, March 28, 2017.

Kansas cornerback Kyle Mayberry chats up his teammates during spring football practice on Tuesday, March 28, 2017.

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Leaders from the Kansas football team shared late Thursday night their vexation with racism, social injustice and police brutality in this country, releasing a joint statement that said, in part, “enough is enough.”

Their message, shared on the program’s social media accounts, came at the end of a day when the Jayhawks spent much of their time voicing their frustrations on those matters inside Anderson Family Football Complex.

Sources with knowledge of what was described as an emotional day for many KU players told the Journal-World that the Jayhawks didn’t practice on Thursday, but instead met together to discuss their worries about racist acts and inequality in the U.S.

The team’s unity council then put together the statement to share the Jayhawks’ thoughts with the public, days after police shot a Black man, Jacob Blake, in the back multiple times in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

“The brutal and inhumane shooting of Jacob Blake was yet another example of discrimination by rogue members of the modern day police force,” the statement began. “We are sick and tired of the systematic racism and inequality towards minorities that continues in this country.”

The players added, “Enough is enough.”

They concluded: “The University of Kansas football team stands firm against systematic racism, social injustice and police brutality against people of color. We will continue to do everything in our power to educate and promote meaningful change so that this generation and the generations to come will no longer have to live in fear as we currently do. It is past the point of remaining silent. We believe that all lives cannot matter until we acknowledge that Black Lives Matter.”

The statement was attributed to KU football’s unity council, comprised of team leaders Miles Kendrick, Kwamie Lassiter II, Api Mane, Kameron McQueen, Takulve Williams, Chris Hughes, Stephon Robinson Jr., Jack Luavasa, Logan Klusman, Kyle Thompson, Kyle Mayberry, Ricky Thomas, Denzel Feaster, Kyron Johnson, Gavin Potter, Thomas MacVittie and Sam Burt.

The unrest among KU athletes wasn’t limited to the football team. Women’s basketball players, head coach Brandon Schneider revealed on Twitter, met in the locker room Thursday to discuss their worries, too.

Those conversations led to the women’s players suggesting a Black Lives Matter march hosted by KU athletes on Friday.

KU Athletic Director Jeff Long shared on Twitter late Thursday night that a peaceful march “for change” involving KU athletes, coaches and staff would take place Friday at 1 p.m., beginning outside of Stouffer Place Apartments on campus.

Long encouraged others to join and wear a mask.

Earlier this week, during his video press conference, KU head coach Les Miles shared his disappointment over the Blake shooting.

“I see our country is still shaken by bad decisions,” Miles said, bringing up the fact that Blake was shot in front of his children and saying that police officers who take such measures lack cultural sensitivity.

“We have to look back, we have to change,” Miles said. “There are things that must be done.”

Miles followed that up on Friday morning by releasing a statement in which he said he “is and always will be” with his players on such matters.

“I stand in support of the leadership of this football team to not conduct practice (Thursday) because of the ongoing social injustice, as well as the recent police shooting of Jacob Blake,” Miles stated. “We once again find ourselves at a crossroads, and action must be taken to peacefully protest these reoccurring hate crimes on Black men and women. Football can wait, but continuing to shine our bright light on these inequities and showing that Black Lives Matter cannot.”

None by Kansas Football

None by Jeff Long

None by Les Miles

None by Brandon Schneider

None by Kansas Women's Bball

Comments

Doug Cramer 2 months ago

Police violence ?

Have they not been watching the news ?

Micky Baker 1 month, 4 weeks ago

It's not just police violence, but just misconduct in virtually every department and the cops that do it are protected for doing things that you would be in prison for.

Dirk Medema 2 months ago

I don’t understand the idea that it’s okay to not follow a reasonable request by a police officer. It shouldn’t matter what color your skin is, when told to stop, you stop.

Brad Avery 2 months ago

You mean a reasonable request like get off my neck I cannot breathe? What's definitely not o.k is for the police officer to act as judge, jury and executioner. Just because one wears a badge, does not automatically entitle that individual to shoot someone in the back. It is illegal,immoral and reprehensible behavior.

J.L. Forge 2 months ago

That was a bad person performing that despicable act that happened to be a police officer. Those two had history and bad blood so you can't place blame on police officers as a whole. He should be held accountable for those actions but the LEO community shouldn't be judged by his actions.

Dane Pratt 2 months ago

What's so hard to understand. We have a lawless and criminal segment of society that refuse to play by the rules. That's why we have a criminal justice system. Did you not see the footage of Waco? Every reasonable attempt was made by law enforcement yet they chose their own demise over a day in court.

Chris Bailey 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Oh so you listen to the stations that give you their side only. Gotcha.

Brett McCabe 2 months ago

Right, that black boy needs to do as he is told.

You don’t understand because you are oblivious or you are lazy. If you don’t get it by now, you never will.

You also seem to imply that seven shots in the back are the reasonable response. You know, just like Baker Mayfield.

I’m amazed how willing some people are to be on the wrong side of history and how they keep digging no matter how deep of a hole they’ve created for themselves. It’s no surprise that you are also a Beaty apologist.

Micky Baker 2 months ago

Let's face it. Many police officers are out of line. They act like a robot with no human element. The conversation needs to be had. There is a reason people should be upset when a cop violates their rights and the cop CANNOT be a victim of disorderly conduct, but they try to use that to further intimidate people into compliance. The police have a duty that they swore to. Defend the Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic, including other cops, police chiefs, sheriffs, DAs, etc. So much proof of the out of hand policing that does nothing to protect communities, particularly the most vulnerable communities in our country. Can't continue this rant right now. Gotta go to work.

Jim Stauffer 2 months ago

I believe there is always wrong on both sides of an issue but some of these recent ones could have easily been avoided by just some common sense. Do you really need to shoot a guy 7 times to subdue him? Can you not take your knee off a guy's neck when he is struggling to breathe?

Now, there is a responsibility on the part of citizens to submit to officers and not force them to make sudden decisions where error is more likely to happen.

I think players should have the right to express outrage as they feel it in this and other cases.

I do wish teams such as the Royals, KU, Chiefs, etc. would be very careful in the statements they make to avoid supporting a political movement rather than simply supporting justice and appropriate behavior on the part of all citizens.

J.L. Forge 2 months ago

Good point Jim, the blame for many of these fall on both sides. As a LEO, I am appalled at some of the behaviors and actions of those in my profession but as a whole, the overwhelming majority are professionals who wake up each day leaving their families to serve their communities. It is easy for someone to sit back and armchair quarterback how they think something should have been handled when they have never experienced that or been in a similar situation. As with many professions, training, training and more training is key along with extensive screening processes for candidates. Many of these situations would not have happened if folks would obey simple commands officers give them so the situation can be looked into and in many cases, positively resolved. Don't commit a crime in the first place would be a great start.

I agree with you on the political stance taken by sports teams. Play your chosen sport, get paid and use your money and publicity to then make a difference in some way. You get paid millions to play a game, give back to a cause or a community you feel passionate about.

Chris Bailey 1 month, 4 weeks ago

J.L.

Thank you for your service. Definitely most LEO's are good people. And the millions of interactions that happen each year that go smoothly are looked past to the 1000 or so shooting deaths. You are correct, don't commit a crime is a good place to start.

Micky Baker 1 month, 4 weeks ago

It isn't just about training. Training only goes so far. If a cop is trained and still doesn't get it, at some point the cop needs to be handed the termination papers.

J.L. Forge 1 month, 4 weeks ago

True, and that goes for every profession, not just law enforcement. Officers I work with are held to high standards and more than one have been terminated for unprofessional conduct. Every department handles things differently though. Training is an important part of what we do as it is for other professions. We need to hope parents and those raising kids in this day and age are also training those kids to be good citizens and to obey the law. I think this has helped contribute to some of the behaviors we are seeing today.

Dane Pratt 2 months ago

We want the police to protect us but most people could not, nor do they want to do the task the police are faced with. But seven shots in the back or subduing a man on the ground with your knee in his neck? How does one defend that as proper police work? I respect the police but they need to break their code of silence when this type of incident happens.

Dirk Medema 2 months ago

There is no part of my statement that justifies the actions of the police officers. It merely recognizes that very reasonable requests were refused by the victims.

This isn’t a denial of racism either.

Doug Cramer 2 months ago

Les opened the door for this non-sense in his last interview. He should have known better.

Focus your boys on being successful on and off the field. Leave the political distractions to the news stations.

Judging by our performance over the last ten years, we don’t have much pocket change for political distractions in this program. Focus your boys on things you can control Les.

Bee Bee 2 months ago

Win football games. Keep it simple.

Dane Pratt 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Absolutely. Why can't athletes just entertain us. Their lack of social justice is not our problem. Just keep it to yourself because I can't be bothered with these type of trivial matters.

Dale Rogers 2 months ago

Why can't we say this kind of violence against ANYBODY, regardless of race, gender, etc., is not acceptable? Until we start focusing on violence against people regardless of color, etc., racism is never going to stop. Yes, it is obviously happening more to people of color but it also happens to people of every color and that's what we need to focus on, stopping this unnecessary violence against anyone.

Len Shaffer 2 months ago

Because there is an overwhelming, systemic racism in this country that should have been addressed a long time ago.

Yes, obviously violence against anyone is unacceptable, but there has always been a completely different attitude when it happens to people of color. The reason that "Black Lives Matter" came into existence is because so often we as a society act like black lives DON'T matter.

If you want to see a perfect example, look no further than the white 17-year-old who is illegally armed with a rifle walking in the middle of the street with no cop making the slightest effort to stop him. How far do you think he could have gotten if he were black.

And as for the argument that the great majority of cops are good people, I don't think any reasonable person would dispute that. The problem is that the good cops have not done NEARLY enough to stop the bad cops -- and that is further exacerbated by the police unions, who ALWAYS defend cops, no matter how horrible their actions have been. By doing so, the police unions have lost any shred of credibility. They've never understood that if they had come out for reasonable measures to weed out the bad cops, it would have been better for EVERYONE (including the cops).

Finally, as to the "shut up and dribble" attitudes of people like Doug Cramer: these athletes are human beings living in America, and as such they have every right to stand up for what they believe, especially when people who look like most of them are being brutalized and victimized on a regular basis.

Dale Rogers 2 months ago

I agree with what you are saying. What I am saying is that there is racism in several directions, against each color, each gender, each sexual preference, each religion, and so on. While, yes, the worst is against persons of color and that has to stop, it is also true that racism in the other directions also has to stop. If we want to truly pull together, then we have to work towards ending racism in all directions. Otherwise we simply create feelings of reverse racism.

Marc Frey 2 months ago

In 2019, over 50 million police interactions with citizens. Total shootings: 999. 403 white, 250 black, 163 Hispanic. 598 had a gun. Outright police violence is such a minor part of the system. If KU sports wants to focus on "the fleas and not elephants " go ahead. But until we address issues of family, respect for others, this issue will never go away.

Len Shaffer 2 months ago

You're right that outright violence is a minor part; unfortunately, unequal treatment of minorities is NOT a minor part. There's a reason that the term "driving while black" has become a part of our language.

Chris Bailey 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Marc,

I could not agree more! Absolutely the biggest problem is single mothers in the black community between 65-70%. In the white community it is 25%. Teach your kids to be good humans and to be responsible.

Doug Roberts 2 months ago

I'm gonna have so much more free time in my life without sports. And movies. And concerts. And late night talk shows. And...

Marc Frey 2 months ago

I didn't even apply religion. I am a very conservative religious person, but even though I disagree with on a theological aspect, I respect them being a person. I've been pulled over. No, not with priors, but I cooperate. If I can do it as a stubborn German who is "never wrong", so can everyone else.

Chris Bailey 1 month, 4 weeks ago

You know it's funny they speak out against this and yet I attended a wedding at the Oread a few years ago. About 3 am we were awoken to the sound of screaming and yelling in the hall. Two black men (one a former football player) and I didn't recognize the other had guns drawn and ready to take each others lives. For what? Because some sh!t was said? Come on. If you want to end this profiling then stop acting this way! For the record this wasn't even reported. NO ONE was arrested! You can't tell me that there should not have been arrests made for this crap. As I sat inside my room afraid for my 11 year olds life and the life of his friend. I wondered why do you even have a gun at a wedding? Who even brings a gun to a wedding especially knowing there will most likely be alcohol served. Stop, just stop! Yes we have problems in this country but at some point we need to realize that the problems run much deeper than we are willing to admit. The problems need to be addressed at their core and if we can't have that discussion then we will never fix the problem. Marching and complaining while thousands are gunned down by black on black crime each year doesn't make a strong case that you truly care. Put the guns down. Stop shooting each other. Learn to love your fellow man. Be a better human being and set the example for others to follow. That is how change happens. I know some won't agree and that's fine but you cannot dispute that this is a problem that BLM cares nothing about. Black on black crime doesn't matter. Only police deaths of which only a handful are unjustified. Most cops are good an to make our law enforcement officers look bad to push a narrative is shameful. Black lives most definitely matter, now stand up for all black lives not just the few.

Dirk Medema 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Len - Why wouldn’t the police union defend an accused police officer? Doesn’t every accused person deserve legal representation? It’s the Miranda rights. And if you can’t afford an attorney one will be appointed for you. It doesn’t add unless you are accused of doing something really horrible. The police union is the police officer’s legal representation. That’s at least part of their job. Everyone deserves legal representation.

Len Shaffer 1 month, 4 weeks ago

I understand that the union always has to defend someone who's been accused, and I don't have a problem with that. It's the WAY they do it, as well as to oppose any reasonable effort at resolving the issues.

For example, there have been attempts over the years to establish some kind of registry of officers (the way there is for doctors, lawyers, etc.) so that if a bad officer is fired somewhere for cause, he can't just get another job at another station and behave the same way again. But the union has always STRONGLY opposed that type of thing. That's where I have a problem with them -- that they never admit there's the SLIGHTEST thing wrong.

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