Indiana Basketball Players, Coaches Let Voices Be Heard

Tom Brew

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Joey Brunk is a 6-foot-11 white man who plays basketball for Indiana University. So, yes, he stands tall.

And he stood even taller on Tuesday, when he stood alongside teammate Trayce Jackson-Davis during a peaceful protest in Indianapolis. 

"Grateful to have this platform and the ability to speak my heart. I choose to march with my brothers and sisters in the pursuit of equality,'' Brunk said in a tweet. 

“The purpose of life is to contribute in some way to making things better.” -Robert F. Kennedy #blm

Several Indiana players and coaches shared their thoughts collectively in a tweet released on the school's basketball account earlier in the day, but others have addressed issues individually as well after the death of George Floyd on May 25 at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer, who has since been arrested and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

The Floyd murder and subsequent protests that have followed, starting in Minneapolis and now exploding across the country, really hit home for Indiana forward Race Thompson because Minneapolis is his hometown. At the start of the 1 minute, 35 video posted to the Indiana Basketball account, Thompson speaks first.

"I was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and this is my home. And my home is in mourning over the death of George Floyd. I felt compelled to participate in two powerful peaceful and inspiring marches, the second ended in near tragedy when a semi-truck came barreling down the highway at all of us.

"My feelings about this are hard to explain right now. I am both saddened and inspired, and I am ready for change.''

Seventeen other voices followed, players, coaches and staffers alike, some black, some white. It ended with Indiana basketball coach Archie Miller.

"Racism is one of the great barriers in our society. It in no way, shape or form can be tolerated. Let's do our part for equality, in collaboration immediately.''

Trayce Jackson-Davis retweeted Brunk's post, with the comment about his teammate: "Don't you see the resemblance.... That's my Brother.''

 He also tweeted about the importance of making change together, that "It's not blacks vs. whites, it's everyone against racism'' and that "hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers all wrongs.''

Race Thompson took part in two peaceful protests in Minneapolis, including one where several Minnesota-area athletes participated in a downtown march that included several thousand people before it was over. NBA player Royce White organized it and said, "We have successfully proven that we can protest in peace, despite all the stories they've shown on the news.''

Related stories on Indiana basketball

  • SPEAKING OUT: Indiana athletic director Fred Glass announced that meetings will be set up to listen to athletes, coaches and staff about racial issues. CLICK HERE
  • FALL SCHEDULE ANNOUNCED: Indiana's plan to return students to campus in the fall semester also includes sending them home for good after Thanksgiving break, and not returning until early February. CLICK HERE
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