Several members of the Virginia men's basketball team, including senior point guard London Perrantes, took to social media on Thursday night to join recent protests by athletes across the country against social injustice and inequality.
Kneel for Injustice. Kneel for Equality. ✊ Using our platform to help creat change. TOGETHER! pic.twitter.com/7AEA3mH63B— London Perrantes (@London_Tyus) September 29, 2016
The unified message shared by the team was "Kneel for Injustice. Kneel for Equality." Trevon Gross, Marial Shayok, Isaiah Wilkins, and Dre Hunter, among others, also posted the image, which shows the team dressed in black and kneeling, arm-in-arm, on the practice floor at John Paul Jones Arena.
Kneel for injustice. Kneel for inequality. pic.twitter.com/b052cwSmIP— Ty Jerome (@TyJerome_) September 29, 2016
Kneel for injustice. Kneel for equality. pic.twitter.com/E1jDN4aEAU— Trevon Gross (@Sir_Trey) September 30, 2016
"Kneel for Injustice. Kneel for Equality."...aiming to make the world a better place with my brothers pic.twitter.com/egwigM95fG— Marial Shayok (@supermarial03) September 29, 2016
Assistant Coach Jason Williford also retweeted Dre Hunter’s post.
Over the past several months, going back to when San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick attracted national attention by sitting down during the national anthem, the country has seen more and more athletes — professional athletes in particular — kneel during the national anthem as a way to protest and raise awareness towards the continued injustices particularly against black Americans.
Though Virginia head coach Tony Bennett isn’t on Twitter and hasn’t made any public statement, Coach Bronco Mendenhall spoke out on the subject the week before the football season began.
"I don't have a national anthem policy other than I feel fortunate to live in this country. My simple policy, back to 'earn not given' mentality, is I really ask my players to contribute to and do everything they can to make it better," Mendenhall said at the time. "There are plenty of people that find fault with things. That's part of being a coach. I won't be always liked. There will be things that will be talked about. But I'm going to try as hard as I can to make it better. That's all I can ask my players to do, before they protest anything, have they done all they can do to make it better. If they did, then that can be fair."
This is the first involvement we’ve seen from any Virginia player or coach in the growing movement. Stay tuned to Streaking the Lawn as we see what attention this brings to the team and the school itself.
Update, 3:10 p.m. Friday
Tony Bennett has responded to his team’s demonstration:
“Our guys realize there are a lot of issues going on in our country. I support their desire to promote peace and equality.” Coach Bennett https://t.co/BKbDAvwHnd— Virginia Basketball (@UVAMensHoops) September 30, 2016