Commissioner Larry Scott Explains How Pac-12 Is Handling Race Relations
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Race has come to the forefront of society over the past few weeks with the recent protests regarding the death of George Floyd.
Here in Utah Utah defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley was suspended over text message that included a racial slur back in 2013.
This topic is impacting everyone’s lives. There is a lot to learn from what has been going on, and that includes those college-age students. Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott joined KSL Unrivaled to explain what the conference is doing in regards to race relations from within.
Tonight we have @pac12 commissioner Larry Scott on the show tonight at 8:20.
TUNE IN: https://t.co/f4sWX8TzjZ pic.twitter.com/h9HWLAP6qc
— KSL Unrivaled (@KSLunrivaled) June 10, 2020
Scott is meeting with everyone across the conference to hear multiple voices that need to be heard in order to have meaningful conversations and actions on the topic.
“This has emerged as a top priority internally and with our campuses along with this unprecedented health crisis and now we have a race crisis in our country,” Scott said. “We really have tried to be proactive and be engaged with our staff, athletics directors, prominent alumni, and most importantly our student-athletes. We had a few sessions last week with our student-athlete leadership group.”
“First and foremost, we are trying to be active listeners and provide a platform for people to tell their story. They have been raw, powerful, vulnerable, and in a way encouraging and inspiring,” he added.” They have felt open and safe to be able to talk about some of their concerns. Obviously, hate and racism are not new in our country but it does feel like things are different now, and it is somewhat inspiring to see younger generations want to be activists and want to make a difference.”
Working Together Across Campuses
Open communication across campuses and within the conference’s offices is a priority. There are groups being formed and a focus to learn from each other providing an outlet to discuss race and other important issues.
I want to share what I wrote to our student-athletes earlier today. They are a special group who will, along with all of us here at Utah Athletics, embrace the challenge of confronting the realities of racism and making a difference to find solutions. pic.twitter.com/RGHCTmTCaD
— Mark Harlan (@MarkHarlan_AD) June 3, 2020
“The conference can play a role in working closely with our campuses on a few levels,” Scott said. “We have a forum for our student-athletes, our black student-athletes but also for all to get together to share best practices to talk about what they are doing on their campuses.
“That was a big focus in our call last week and some athletes were taking notes about dialogue and ideas on one campus and how it might apply to theirs. We have a platform where we can help our student-athletes, coaches, and others to be able to tell their story. We can bring our conference together in unified messaging and action plans.”
Pac-12 Has A History Of Activists
This conference has a long history of its players using their platform to shed light on topics that the world needed to see. One of the biggest names of that group was former UCLA great Lew Alcindor who converted to Islam in 1968 and changed his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
He decided to not try out for the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games – which he would have been a shoo-in for – and boycott them to bring awareness to the unequal treatment of African-Americans in the United States.
Threading some citations and thanks here. To start, @kaj33 himself is an incredibly prolific and inspiring writer. For one example, check out this piece on his 1968 Olympic boycott, excerpted from "Coach Wooden and Me": https://t.co/2YN1738zYj
— Nick Juravich (@NickJuravich) July 31, 2018
Scott named a few more people who made significant impacts in regards to race and how the league is fully supporting their athlete’s voices to be heard.
“The Pac-12 has a proud history of being progressive on social issues,” Scott said. “This is a conference with the likes of Jackie Robinson and Arthur Ashe; we have a long list of student-athletes who have gone on to make a positive difference in this world. Student-athletes are completely supported in trying to use their platform.”
“There is a big emphasis around efforts the conference can make collectively around helping them to register to vote and get out to vote on Nov. 3 or by mail-in ballot. Plus, there is a big focus and discussion around relations with police and what teams and athletic departments can do to connect on a human level to gain a greater understanding and empathy.”
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