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Mountaineers March for Unity, Equality, and Change

West Virginia University athletes gather for a peaceful protest to promote a positive change

The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, which was recently assembled by West Virginia University Director of Athletics and Associate Vice President Shane Lyons, organized a march from the WVU Coliseum to the REC Center Sunday afternoon.

The march was for “equality, unity, and change” with the event featuring athletes, coaches, and administrators from across all the West Virginia athletic departments.

The peaceful protest comes in the wake of Jacob Blake being shot in the back seven times by Kenosha, Wisc., police officer Rusten Sheskey on Sunday, Aug. 23, which left him paralyzed.

On Saturday, Mountaineer redshirt senior receiver TJ Simmons made a statement surrounding the recent events on behalf of the football program following the team's second scrimmage.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to Jacob Blake and his family,” said Simmons. “We want change in this world, and WVU Football team is one team who’s promoting change, and we’re trying to figure out things to push for change in this country.”

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Several football programs around the country opted to miss practice late last week to highlight the injustices taking place around the country. Meanwhile, the Mountaineers chose to organize and participate in the march on their own time.

It's not the first time West Virginia University athletes came together for the same common cause. Following the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis, Minn., police officer Derek Chauvin, players and coaches joined a peaceful protest in Morgantown back in early June. 

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