Statement on athletes’ right to participate in protests
A recent statement by our athletic director on the right of athletes to participate in protests that support Black Lives Matter has caused some confusion. This is understandable, as the statement did not directly answer the question at hand. There should be no confusion on this issue: Wayne State University strongly supports free speech and the right of our players to peacefully demonstrate in support of social justice – both in and out of uniform. The decision about whether to stand or kneel during the anthem belongs to the individual player, and we support them in either case. This position applies to the university as a whole and to me personally, and I have been greatly encouraged by the youth and diversity of protesters who have stood for change over the past few weeks. Even the NFL has reversed its earlier position, and in a statement by Commissioner Roger Goodell, pledged support for peaceful protests by players. The time for change is now, and our university will both participate in that change and support others who stand for social justice.
M. Roy Wilson
Updated June 17, 2020 to provide clarity