( Photo / Chris Wallace )
Troy University’s football team hosted a unity march on campus last Friday to raise awareness about social injustice.
The march began at Veterans Memorial stadium and ended at the John Lewis quad.
According to Head Coach Chip Lindsey, the team’s head coach, the march served as a means for the team to take a stand and demand change.
“They wanted to do something in a positive way to show that we don’t stand for social injustice and that we want change,” he said.
This idea of the march came up following the recent decision of the university to rename the former Bibb Graves Hall to John Robert Lewis Hall.
“I think they (the players) took some time to really consider what they wanted to do and not just follow along what other people have done,” he said.
Troy alumnus and retired Air Force General Edward Crowell was invited as a guest speaker and said he believed the march embodied what Troy University is all about.
“I think this was very impactful march. It was orchestrated and it was executed by the student athletes,” he said.
“This is something they endorsed – they conceived the idea – it was endorsed by the staff and I find it inspirational. I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of it.”
For the team, the march was important in showing the community that they are united and everyone is important, regardless of ethnicity.
“For me, growing up a Black man in society today and just seeing the whole Athletic Department push us and be involved in something like this, it lets everyone – and us – know that we are not just seen as objects for the games; this is our lives,” said BJ Smith, a senior Psychology major and running back from Millbrook, Alabama.
“And for the Athletics Department to be behind us a hundred percent? We can’t help but to be thankful to be a part of this,” Smith said.
“That’s how all of us are: Black, white, Mexican, it doesn’t matter. We are thankful to be a part of the Troy Athletics Department and to do this.”
Lindsay said the march created a positive reflection of the team in the community.
“I think the players deciding that this is what they wanted to do, and using their influence in a positive way shows our university and community that we are united and that we want change, and I think our players really make a nice job of doing that,” he said.