call for change

NBA Player/SMU Alum Adds Voice to Protests Over Police Brutality

When the Milwaukee Bucks boycotted Wednesday's playoff game against the Orlando Magic in protest, Sterling Brown, an SMU alum, read the team statement

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On Thursday, the NBA announced playoff games will be delayed in the wake of the Milwaukee Bucks refusing to play in protest of the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

"The past 4-months have shed an ongoing light on the racial injustice in our African American community," Bucks player Sterling Brown said reading the team statement.

"I am so proud of Sterling Brown," SMU History Professor Alexis McCrossen said. "He was a student of mine in the fall of 2014."

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McCrossen said Sterling adds his name to a long line of athletes who have stood up, and sometimes kneeled, in protest.

"Doing what's right and speaking out for what's right isn't always easy," McCrossen said.

There is a long history of protest in sports.

"An awful lot in the 1960s as the Civil Rights Movement really took off across the country," McCrossen said pointing to an iconic image from the 1968 Summer Olympic Games. "Tommie Smith and John Carlos captured in that iconic photo with their hands up in the Black Power salute was a really pivotal moment, during a pivotal year, and a pivotal decade of the American Civil Rights Movement altogether."

Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem in protest of police brutality. It cost the quarterback his football career.

"We value free speech and we look to our cultural heroes for leadership, for guidance, for inspiration," McCrossen said. "And in so many ways, it is a good thing that they are using the platform to draw attention to issues that they feel that matter."

Brown recently wrote an op-ed piece about his encounter with police in Milwaukee.

"So the NBC is now actually putting its money where its mouth is," McCrossen said. "And I think that's very powerful and I think we should really listen to that."

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