The University of Connecticut recently committed to the addition of Black Lives Matter (BLM) patches on their women’s and men’s basketball uniforms for the 2020-21 season.
This follows an announcement from the Big East conference on Aug. 20 that UConn and other schools would wear a patch to continue anti-racism and social justice efforts.
ESPN said in an article that UConn may go beyond the BLM patches.
“Officials have discussed creating helmet stickers, warm-up T-shirts and altering uniforms in other ways to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement,” the article said. “Emails obtained by The Associated Press through a Freedom of Information request show discussions dating back to June and involving all sports at the school.”
The decision came after Coaches for Action, a group of assistant coaches, pushed for the patches. Kimani Young, a member of the group, is associate head coach of the UConn men’s team.
Patrick McKenna, a spokesperson for UConn athletics, did not share information about additional plans beyond BLM patches.
“We are still in the process of working towards all those decisions and trying to gain clarity on a start date for competition for all our sports,” McKenna said in an email to ESPN. “Once we have some clarity on those decisions, we should have some answers to your questions.”
Daniel Glinski, UConn’s assistant athletic direction for equipment services, expressed concerns over the BLM patch in emails written to members within the department.
“Will all student athletes be required to wear the patch or is this an individual choice?” he wrote. “There will need to be an understanding that if we put a patch on the uniform, that will not be taken off, once applied.”
Basketball players have since hinted they are planning to show support beyond the uniform patches.
“I believe, as athletes, that we have this platform. Especially here, we have a platform and a voice, and we should use it—especially on topics like this that have been going on for hundreds of years”.
“I believe, as athletes, that we have this platform. Especially here, we have a platform and a voice, and we should use it—especially on topics like this that have been going on for hundreds of years,” Olivia Nelson-Ododa, center for the UConn women’s basketball team, said last month. “And so that ability to speak out about it and advocate for the Black Lives Matter movement is very important to me, and I know for the rest of my team as well.”