The Black Lives Matter movement got a boost on the University of Alabama campus, a school where a historic segregation battle once took place. On Monday afternoon, celebrated football coach, Nick Saban led a group of athletes from the Mal Moore athletic facility to the door of Foster Auditorium in a protest of racial injustice, according to AL.com. Members of the football team walked with him wearing t-shirts that read, Defend Black Lives and Black Lives Matter.
“Today I’m like a proud parent,” Saban said as the march concluded. “I’m proud of our team, I’m proud of our messengers over here and I’m very proud of the message. I’m very proud of the ’All lives can’t matter until Black lives matter’ video that we did early on that I think had a very positive impact. That was something we did together as a team.
“This is something that the team decided to do together as a team, so I’m very proud and supportive of what they are trying to say, and in a peaceful and intelligent way. I’m very pleased to be here today.”
The university made history in 1963 when then-Gov. George Wallace stood in the doorway of Foster Auditorium attempting to block two African American students, Vivian Malone and James Hood as they attempted to register for school. In response to Wallace’s defiance, President John F. Kennedy issued an executive order authorizing the Alabama National Guard to command Wallace to step aside, which he eventually did.
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Players on Alabama’s Crimson Tide have been vocal on issues concerning social justice and have called for police reforms and have demonstrated in the past on the topic. Saban says that he has listened to their demands and felt obligated to stand with them.
“Through this process, I’ve learned a lot from our players. I don’t get to see the world through the same lens that a lot of our players do,” said Saban. “I think I respect and appreciate the lens they see the world in and they live the world in. We had various speakers that I think contributed that education as well, whether it was Condoleezza Rice, Charles Barkley, Stephen A. Smith, Joey Galloway, Tony Dungy. All those people had an interesting way that we could all make positive change.
“So this is what helped me grow in my role as a leader: to listen to the players, to learn from the players and to give them the opportunity to do things that could impact social change today.”