Texas linebacker DeMarvion Overshown has become the first major college football player to announce that he will sit out of team activities in protest.
“We have been told that things are being done behind close (sic) doors but have yet to see any changes,” Overshown tweeted in a statement. “We are constantly preached urgency throughout the program and I feel that the university should be held to the same standard.”
Overshown’s decision comes on the heels of a comprehensive list of demands released in June by several Black student-athletes at the University of Texas. Among the requested changes included the renaming of four buildings on campus, more education about racism at Texas for incoming students and – most controversial – changing The Eyes of Texas.
Players decided they would not participate in some recruiting activities, but none went as far as sitting out of workouts or threatening to sit out of games. The only statement the Texas athletic department has released at this point was a tweet from athletic director Chris Del Conte acknowledging the message.
“I am always willing to have meaningful conversations regarding any concerns our student-athletes have,” Del Conte said. “We will do the same in this situation and look forward to having those discussions.”
The protests come on the heels of nationwide “Black Lives Matter” protests that reached a boiling point following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis by police in May. People have taken to the street across America almost every day since. Texas coach Tom Herman organized a walk on the Texas statehouse when players came back to campus in June.
As part of the protests, Black student-athletes at Primarily White Institutions have been vocal. Oklahoma State running back Chuba Hubbard and several other Cowboys spoke out about concerns in the program. Several Black players at the University of Iowa talked about mistreatment within the program. Within Texas, Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond has been vocal about the removal of a state of Confederate general Sul Ross placed in the middle of campus, which has caused several conflicts in College Station. However, at this point, no other major college players have committed to sitting out until they get results.
Overshown pointed to trailblazing WNBA superstar Maya Moore, who gave up her record-setting career with the Minnesota Lynx to campaign for prosecutorial reform and for the release of Jonathan Irons, who was serving a 50-year sentence after being convicted for burglary and assault. Moore’s work came to a head on Wednesday, when Irons was released from prison after 23 years.
Overshown is projected to be a key starter in the Texas linebacking corps after moving to the position from safety over the offseason.
“I can not continue to perform for a program that doesn’t show me the same love and support I do for them,” Overshown said.
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