LeVelle Moton Calls Out White Power 5 Coaches for Silence on Racial Injustice

Mar 19, 2019; Dayton, OH, USA; North Carolina Central Eagles head coach LeVelle Moton speaks with the press during practice before the First Four in the 2019 NCAA Tournament at Dayton Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

North Carolina Central men’s basketball head coach LeVelle Moton said in an interview on Sunday that he was bothered by the silence of white basketball and football coaches at Power Five schools.

“I come across the timeline of coaches, and everyone is silent,” Moton said. “And I have a major issue with that. For years, I’ve never really said anything, but now I think enough is enough. … The reality is a lot of these coaches have been able to create generational wealth. I mean, their grandkids’ kids are going to be able to live a prosperous life because athletes who were the complexion of George Floyd was able to run a football, throw a football, shoot a basketball, or whatever have you. So they have benefited greatly from athletes that look like George Floyd.”

Across the country, protests have taken place, beginning in Minneapolis, where George Floyd was killed, and spread quickly. Athletes have taken part in many of them, with Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown even leading a peaceful protest on Saturday in Atlanta. 

Kyle Korver wrote a piece for The Players’ Tribune in April 2019 in which he discussed his privilege as a white athlete compared to the disrespect that is shown to his black teammates. The National Basketball Coaches Association established a committee on “racial injustice and reform to pursue solutions within NBA cities.” Lloyd Pierce, Gregg Popovich, Steve Kerr, David Fizdale and Stan Van Gundy are among the coaches on the committee. 

San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman stated that he was “impressed with the white quarterbacks speaking up because those are voices that carry different weight than the black voices for some people.”

San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane said that it was good to see statements from white players in the NHL as conversations about race are not often had in NHL locker rooms. 

Floyd’s death and the recent protests have triggered several white football and basketball coaches to release statements regarding all of the recent events. That list includes Nick Saban, Jimbo Fisher, Roy Williams, and Tom Izzo.

But Moton is right to say that these coaches have been silent, especially in past instances when African-Americans have been killed at the hands of law enforcement. 

It shouldn’t have taken this long for these popular, legendary coaches to speak up. They have a duty to do so. 

Sports have been put on hold due to the novel coronavirus and these coaches need to put their effort somewhere else. Right now, that means helping to fight systemic racism within the United States. 

It’s time to speak up and show their support in a way that is unfamiliar and different to them. 

“I have a problem with [their silence] because it seems as if black lives matter to them whenever they can benefit from it or whenever they’re getting them first downs, catching an alley-oop or shooting a [three-pointer] or whatever,” Moton said. “When it’s time for humanity to speak up on behalf of the student-athlete, it’s silent. It’s crickets. And my problem is if the murdering of black Americans is too risky of an issue for you to stand up as a leader, then who are they really playing for?”

When sports does come back, coaches must make a better effort in your communities to put a stop to racism. 

There are broke high school and college students and adults who lost their jobs due to the virus that have given more than some of these coaches. That’s not the example to set, especially when you’re in the position of power that most of these men are in at universities. 

It shouldn’t take the death of one to get them to notice and to speak out.

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