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— Nigel Hayes (@NIGEL_HAYES) November 8, 2016
“Many people believe that student-athletes of color are immune to the racial injustices that affect other students of color on campus,” the statement reads. “However, our experiences are not shielded by the ‘W’ we wear on our chest, our experiences are one in the same. We are loved during competition, but then (are) subjected to racial discrimination in our everyday lives too.”
The appeal comes after a Halloween costume depicting President Barack Obama with a noose around his neck was worn at a Wisconsin football game on Oct. 29.
It is painful that someone in our community would show up to an athletic event with a mask of our sitting president, who happens to look a lot like us, with a noose around his neck. That moment was like a punch in the face to not only student-athletes of color, but also current students, faculty and alumni of color. This incident was yet another blow and reminder that there are people in this community that may not value diverse populations.
The individuals were initially asked to remove the offensive part of the costume, but weren’t ejected from the stadium.
When we travel and play in other stadiums, fans have told us to get out of their country, or to go back to Africa, but it hurts to receive that treatment at home. It does not end at overt racial issues, but it is also seen through microaggressions.
The statement also included a message for chancellor Rebecca Blank:
So in solidarity with other students on this campus, we implore Chancellor Blank and her cabinet to take action, be visible, leave your ivory tower and speak to the students. Please create real programs, initiate meaningful change and understand that students of color deserve to thrive in this institution just like our peers. We want to be a part of the amazing legacy this university has held for years and years…. On Wisconsin.
Hayes has been vocal on issues before, recently speaking out on the fact that NCAA athletes aren’t being paid.