Big East Basketball Teams To Wear ‘Black Lives Matter’ Patches

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA – AUGUST 02: Dallas Mavericks players wearing Black Lives Matter shirts … [ ] kneel during the singing of the national anthem before playing against the Phoenix Suns at Visa Athletic Center at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on August 2, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images)

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The Big East Conference is the latest sports league to endorse Black Lives Matter.

The league announced Wednesday that the Conference’s eleven member schools have unanimously approved the display of BLM patches on their men’s and women’s basketball uniforms for the 2020-21 season.

The NBA and the WNBA both have Black Lives Matter slogans on the courts in their bubbles, while the Top Seed Open tennis tournament last week in Kentucky had BLM signage around the court. The NCAA announced last month that it would allow student-athletes in all sports to wear patches on their uniforms for commemorative and memorial purposes, as well as to support social justice issues.

“We are proud that all eleven of our schools support the effort to bring attention through Big East basketball to the Black Lives Matter movement and its goal of a more racially just world,” said Commissioner Val Ackerman. 

The Big East also announced its support for the efforts of Coaches for Action (CFA)
, a coalition of 21 ethnic minority Big East men’s basketball assistant coaches formed to help raise awareness in the fight against racism and to develop a sustainable action plan to dismantle prejudice, discrimination and oppression in Black, Brown, Indigenous and minoritized communities.

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NEW YORK, NY- MARCH 12: Commissioner Val Ackerman of the Big East Conference holds a press … [ ] conference after the game between the Creighton Bluejays and the St. John’s Red Storm was suspended after the first half during the quarterfinals of the Big East Basketball Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 12, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

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“We applaud the initiative and leadership of CFA and their efforts to shine a light on the challenges that our Black student-athletes, coaches and administrators face on a daily basis,” Ackerman said. “We hope our BLM initiative, coupled with the BIG EAST’s prominence and visibility, can help our country bridge its protracted racial divide and allow us, once and for all, to live up to our national ideals of equality for all.”

Dwayne Killings, the Marquette assistant coach who helped co-found CFA, sees the Big East’s decision as an extension of the ongoing discussion of social justice issues that triggered the formation of his group.

“Coaches For Action is excited to see that the NCAA is committed to sustaining the conversation that’s presently happening throughout sports,” Killings said. “We are proud to have started the conversation but even more eager to complete our partnership with the Big East for this amazing opportunity that will represent our players, coaches and those in our community when we take the floor in the 20-21 season.”

Added Seton Hall assistant Duane Woodward: “It’s a major first step forward for all of us. This is a credit to all of the members involved with Coaches for Action and everyone’s relentless effort in getting one of our initiatives passed. But this is bigger than us. This shows progress and movement in the right direction for the future of our student-athletes.”


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