Should Black athletes reconsider playing for Florida public universities?

Florida Gators
Florida Gators
Randy Sartin
Black history and culture have become casualties in Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ identity politics and war on anything considered “woke” (with woke quickly becoming a catch-all for anything seeking fair outcomes for all people).

Last year DeSantis went toe-to-toe against the Disney corporation over the company’s public opposition to the Florida Parental Rights in Education Act, known as the as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. You could make the argument that the legal battle that followed contributed to tanking DeSantis’ 2024 presidential run.

In May 2023 the NAACP issued a travel advisory for those looking to visit the state: “Please be advised that Florida is openly hostile toward African Americans, people of color and LGBTQ+ individuals. Before traveling to Florida, please understand that the State of Florida devalues and marginalizes the contributions of and the challenges faced by African Americans and other minorities.”

In July 2023 the state approved revised education standards that teach students Black Americans benefited from slavery.

In January the state’s education officials voted to end African American studies drawing outrage from within and outside of the state.

Earlier this month the University of Florida closed the Office of the Chief Diversity Officer, eliminating 13 full-time DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) positions and 15 administrative appointments, according to the AP. The actions were in response to a bill DeSantis signed into law last year prohibiting the use of state funds for any DEI programs.

All this racial animus culminated in the latest move by the NAACP, with the organization’s Board of Directors Chairman Leon Russell and President and CEO Derrick Johnson penning a letter to Charlie Baker urging student athlete stay away from the state, “From racist voting policies, to unraveling reproductive freedoms and attempting to rewrite Black history, DeSantis has waged war on Black America. To all current and prospective college student-athletes — the NAACP urges you to reconsider any potential decision to attend, and compete at a predominantly white institution in the state of Florida.”

“The value of Black talent is undeniable, especially when it comes to college sports,” the letter continued. “At UF and similar institutions, if football stadiums emptied, if merchandise stopped selling, if TV deals fell through, the monetary loss would extend beyond athletics to other university programs.”

For his part, DeSantis praised University of Florida for ending DEI initiatives, “DEI is toxic and has no place in our public universities. I’m glad that Florida was the first state to eliminate DEI and I hope more states follow suit,” DeSantis tweeted.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts