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'It's something that's important to me': Husker football players speak out against racial injustice

'It's something that's important to me': Husker football players speak out against racial injustice

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When he felt like he needed to get something off his chest or ask questions this summer, Cam Taylor-Britt turned in a familiar direction.

He called mom.

In addition to living through a pandemic and trying to prepare for a football season that was on and then off and now is on again, the Nebraska junior defensive back and the rest of the Husker football team was on campus for several months of a growing conversation about social injustice and systemic racism not only in Lincoln but around the country.

Earlier this offseason, head coach Scott Frost lamented the fact that the pandemic prevented NU from gathering together its entire roster and talking through what players felt or how they might want to respond, particularly in the wake of George Floyd’s death in the custody of Minneapolis police officers in May.

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The Fight Isn’t Over Our Voices Will Be Heard ✊🏾 #BLM #blmmovement

A post shared by Cameron Taylor-Britt (@camjuice5) on

Taylor-Britt, a Montgomery, Alabama, native, attended at least one rally in Lincoln with several of his teammates and, like many college athletes, is using his platform on social media to say what he thinks needs to be said.

“I’d say, when I didn’t have anybody, I talked to my mom first off, because I feel like she has the answer to everything,” Taylor-Britt said Tuesday. “With the social injustice stuff, I’ve been seeing it for a very long time. I’m not a kid anymore and I know what’s going on. We just have to come together as people, I believe, and get this done. Stop fighting against each other, come together.”

Senior defensive lineman Ben Stille last month spoke on campus at a rally hosted by the Minority Student-Athlete Collective about white privilege and what being in a diverse college football locker room has taught him over the past four years.

“I’m good friends with (senior NU track and field athlete) Taylor Johnson, who is part of that group, and they were looking to have some more diversity speaking at the event and they asked me and it’s something that’s important to me,” the Ashland native said Tuesday. “I don’t necessarily like public speaking, but when it’s something that’s that important to me, I felt like it was something I should do.

“I was raised to stand up for what I think is right, even if it doesn’t directly affect me.”

Frost this summer said he thinks, “A football team gives you an environment where people of all different races and backgrounds can come together and learn about each other and see the good in one another and work together.

“Football teams, honestly, are kind of an example that other people can follow. And we need to be an example because of our influence here at Nebraska football, and we’ll try to be.”

Stille echoed that sentiment this week.

“Throughout the whole experience, I just kind of shared what my experience was with the situation,” he said. “Just coming from Ashland, Nebraska, next to no diversity, and just then coming to a school here and a football team here where I’ve been blessed to experience diversity and just how eye-opening that experience has been.”

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Contact the writer at pgabriel@journalstar.com or 402-473-7439. On Twitter @HuskerExtraPG.

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