As video-recorded examples of police brutality against African Americans have re-energized the Black Lives Matter movement across the country, American athletes of all races and ethnicities have increasingly taken public stances against racism and discrimination.
Although not competing in the fall due to the global pandemic, Piedmont athletes — one of the most diverse subgroups of Piedmont College — are also taking a stand.
“We are all humans, and it’s unfair and extremely wrong for any one human to be treated differently than another,” says Jacob Balot, a sophomore cross country and track runner. “It is crazy to think that African Americans, as well as other races have to deal with something like being treated fairly in 2020”.
There have been global protests for justice over the deaths of George Floyd and Brianna Taylor. Many civilians believe that the killings of these two were uncalled for and severely overdone. Alvin Jacobs, a Piedmont senior and cross country and track runner, feels that the way police operate in our country is the start of the problem.
“Both [Floyd and Taylor] were killed by police when there was no reason for them to get so violent,” he said.
The incident involving George Floyd left him dead after allegedly trying to spend a counterfeit $20 and Breanna Taylor was sleeping when police executed a search warrant on her house. “The bottom line is that no one should have been killed for these incidents,” he said. “I am not saying no one did anything wrong, but I am saying that such a violent way of handling the situation is just flat out wrong.”
With a diverse group of students and faculty on campus, Piedmont can be seen as a mixing pot for all different races and backgrounds. That especially applies to athletics, which Athletic Director Jim Peeples refers to as “one big family” who love each other and make sure that everyone knows it.
“Love is an action,” he said. “If everyone worldwide loved each other like how we all do on campus, that could solve a lot of problems.”
With little competition happening on the fields, Piedmont has been largely immune to controversy surrounding professional sports — including actions such as kneeling or raising a fist during the national anthem. Peeples hopes that student athletes focus on enacting real change through their actions, rather than making sometimes-empty political statements.
“What good has a politician actually done for you?”