Throughout the women’s basketball season, members of the team have been taking a knee during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial injustice.
Kneeling during the national anthem began five years ago with the start of Colin Kaepernick who took his platform, as an NFL player, to speak about the lack of human rights Black people have to face when it comes to law enforcement.
Boise State’s women’s basketball team has now used their platform to make awareness of the situation just as Kaepernick did.
Jade Loville has taken to kneeling multiple times during the season and stayed in the locker room while the anthem was playing.
“As a Black woman in America, I have things that I have to deal with every single day for the rest of my life that some of my white peers will never go through,” Loville said in a Zoom interview with the Idaho Statesman. “That, to me, is more important, not only for myself, but for other young Black women and young Black men. I thought raising awareness for them is much more important than just conforming to what society wants me to do.”
When stating “what society wants me to do” Loville is also referring to her fans, many of who have voiced their displeasure for the team because of her decision to take a knee. Online posts suggest that Loville should “stick to sports”, “stay out of politics” or “respect the flag.”
Many unhappy fans turn to Head Coach Gordy Presnell to do something about it. However, his response led many fans to become even angrier.
“I support our student-athletes in exercising their right to free speech,” Presnell said. “Everyone has a story to tell, and it is important each person has an opportunity to tell it.”
Presnell wants people to remember an important idea, that student-athletes are human too. Fans are a big part of any sport but the awareness of racial injustices is even more important now than ever.
Even though some fans may not be supportive, many members within the student body believe this is a great way to raise awareness of police brutality.
Sophomore Lika Muhoza is a communication major and transferred to Boise State last semester after attending Idaho State University. She feels more at home within the Boise State community after finding out the members of the women’s basketball team are taking a knee.
“As a Black woman living in Idaho, I have not experienced much support for causes that I care about. As a minority, my voice has never been important enough to listen to because of the saturation of the things that matter to the majority in this area. So, to see the basketball team of my school collectively show that they care in a grand gesture, I feel so heard,” Muhoza said. “Things like this remind me that there are actual people in my area that actually care about Black lives.”