One Topic Selection Sunday Will Not Touch: Politics

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The NAACP and the Mayor of Birmingham are urging Black student athletes to stay away from Florida and Alabama state schools because of political policy.

The learned men of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s men’s basketball division are studying video, looking at stats and reviewing analytics trying to figure out the best matchups for television and bettors for the men’s tournament. There is a big TV show announcing matchups but do not be surprised if the TV announcers mention nothing about a National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s statement urging African-American teenage sports stars to avoid going to public college in Florida. The NAACP is not calling for a boycott of the schools by the African-American athletes but has made it clear that the organization believes that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has created a hostile environment for black athletes by ending all diversity, equity and inclusion positions on the University of Florida campus. Florida has a recently enacted policy that prohibits public and state institutions from using government funds on equity and inclusion programs.

The NAACP President Derrick Johnson in a letter laid out the group’s reasoning which calls for athletes to reconsider their decisions to attend Florida public schools on a sports scholarship. “This is not about politics. It’s about the protection of our community, the progression of our culture, and most of all, it’s about your education, and your future. This is not simply about sports; it’s about acknowledging and advocating for the rights and supports of Black students within educational environments.” Florida, Florida State and South Florida have prominent sports programs. The NAACP is not alone in criticizing political policy. The mayor of Birmingham, Alabama has told athletes to skip Alabama schools. Randall Woodfin said if his state passed a bill to block funding for DEI in public colleges, he would have no problem “organizing Black parents and athletes to attend other institutions outside of the state where diversity and inclusion are prioritized.” The NCAA may have a major political cultural problem headed its way.

Derrick Johnson

NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson

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