You’ll see the phrase “Black Lives Matter” on Wake Forest players’ helmets throughout the 2020 season.
Each Demon Deacon player will have the three words on the rear bumper portion of his helmet this fall. That’s the strip at the bottom of the back of the helmet. Wake Forest begins its season on Saturday against No. 1 Clemson.
“Wake Forest student-athletes are smart, curious and caring about the world and issues beyond the locker room, playing courts and fields,” Wake Forest athletic director John Currie said in a statement. “Since my arrival in the spring of 2019, I have appreciated the initiative of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and the engagement of the leaders of each of our 18 sports in raising awareness of the impact of prejudice and speaking out, especially against anti-Black violence. I’m impressed with the unique and creative ways our teams are displaying their commitment to equality and working to build a stronger community.”
Statements in favor of racial and social justice will be prominent in college football in 2020. In slimmed-down Week 1, Eastern Kentucky players and coaches wore shirts that said “Say Their Names” in reference to those who have been subjected to police violence. Stephen F. Austin players took a knee and raised their fists to draw a delay of game penalty against UTEP.
Multiple Wake Forest players told the Winston-Salem Journal that they were proud to wear the BLM slogan on their helmets this season. The helmets will also have a decal of a clenched fist on each side.
“Every picture that will be taken, we’ll have our helmet on and every picture is going to have a fist on it and it’s just to say, ‘We’re not going anywhere with these social injustice issues and we’re still working on little things around the campus that we’re doing, here and in the near future,’” linebacker Ryan Smenda Jr. told the Journal.
Earlier this month, the ACC unveiled a unity symbol that will be displayed at all sporting events this school year. A statement will also be read before the start of every game.
“We, the ACC, are committed to seeing each other as equals, supporting each other, and treating each other with respect and dignity at all times, recognizing that our differences don’t divide us, but they make us stronger,” the statement says.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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