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Football Student-Athletes to Wear Their Commitment to Racial Justice

Shortened Season Opens Saturday at Northwestern

By Maryland Athletics Staff

"Empathy" football jersey

Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics

Football student-athletes will have the option this season to replace their names on their jerseys with various expressions of solidarity, including “Equality,” “Unity,” “Respect,” “Justice” and “Empathy.”

Maryland football student-athletes will debut new nameplates on their jerseys, helmet stickers and warm-up shirts to make personal statements about the fight for racial justice when they open their season Saturday night, Maryland Athletics announced this evening.

The Terps’ conference-only slate begins at Northwestern, where players will have the option to replace their names on their jerseys with various expressions of solidarity, including “Equality,” “Unity,” “Respect,” “Justice” and “Empathy.” Players can also choose to wear warm-up shirts with the same expressions and two others: “I Got Your Back” and “Speak Up.”  A helmet sticker designed by student-athletes will express solidarity through the phrase “One Terp.” These expressions were created by University of Maryland student-athletes and reflect the department’s commitment to social justice.

“At the University of Maryland we are focused on supporting our student-athletes, allowing them to start important conversations on critical issues and amplifying their voices,” said Athletic Director Damon Evans. “This Saturday we will introduce student-driven initiatives as our players will make personal statements about the fight for justice. It fills me with great pride to see the passion our student-athletes have, to take a stance and be vocal about issues that matter to them.”

“Having an athletic department that supports us and allows us to showcase these initiatives is huge for me and my teammates,” said junior wide receiver Brian Cobbs. “We have a lot of thoughts and opinions that we want to express. Being heard is the most important thing because many times student-athletes don’t feel like they are being heard and being able to use these platforms and connect with everyone is really important.”

Sharing expressions of solidarity and racial justice is part of Maryland Athletics’ commitment to lifting the voices of student-athletes, 20 sports teams and staff to influence positive change within its program and communities. Earlier this year, a student-led voting advocacy initiative called VoTERP was launched to encourage participation in the 2020 election. Student-athletes and coaches were also featured in the university’s 4 Maryland health campaign to fight COVID-19. 

Over the next month, Maryland Athletics will promote a variety of featured content and conversations, amplifying the importance for racial justice nationally, in the region and within the University of Maryland community. This academic year, Maryland Athletics will also create campaigns designed to raise awareness of mental health issues and will build on the success of last year’s Fearless Women campaign, designed to elevate the voices of female coaches, student-athletes and alumna.

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