University of Iowa Football Players Ask Fans to Respect Peaceful Protest or Don’t Support the Team

In a first for a major college football team, members of the University of Iowa football team have gone on social media asking fans to support their right to engage in peaceful social justice protest, i.e. kneeling during the national anthem, or don’t bother supporting the Hawkeyes.

Sophomore defensive back Kaevon Merriweather June 8 posted an extended message on Twitter telling Hawkeye fans that belief in social justice extends beyond wishful thinking.

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“If you can not support us right now with this movement and with our team taking a knee during the national anthem, DO NOT support us during the football season,” Merriweather tweeted. “DO NOT watch our games on TV. DO NOT come up to us when you want photos. DO NOT ask us to give your kids autographs. DON’T COME TO US EXPECTING US TO DO FOR YOU WHEN YOU CAN’T SUPPORT THE BLACK ATHLETES ON THIS TEAM AND THE DECISIONS WE MAKE AS A TEAM. I would rather play in front of 1,000 fans who care about us as people outside of football and what we are standing for, than 70,000 fans who only care about us when we are in uniform and on the field entertaining them.”

The message, which was posted by several Hawkeye players on Instagram, follows allegations of a racist culture at the school for black players, in addition to racist comments made by suspended strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle.

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African-Americans make up 4% of Iowa’s total population of 3.17 million, while comprising more than 50% of the football team.

The Hawkeyes compete in the Western division of the Big Ten Conference and play their home games in Iowa City at Kinnick Stadium, with a capacity of 69,250. The Hawkeyes are currently coached by Kirk Ferentz, who is in his 21st season as the head coach and is the longest current tenured head coach in NCAA Division I FBS.

BET Unveils Programming to Address Systemic Racism, Violence Faced by Black People in America and Possible Solutions

ViacomCBS’s BET June 2 announced a series of programming addressing systemic racism, the violence faced by black people in America and the solutions it claims can help move the country forward. BET is utilizing its linear TV and over-the-top video platforms to deliver the programming.

Scott Mills, president of BET, said the programming underscores a critical need for change in America, as evidenced by the careless murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police and the tragic history of systemic and lethal racism and inequality in this country.

For the month of June, BET will air a series of programming specials to provide information, insights and strategies that spark meaningful dialogue and help provide solutions to eradicate the racial inequities plaguing our society.

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“We stand in steadfast solidarity with George Floyd’s family, the many victims of racist brutality, and those who are using their voices and platforms to challenge it,” Mills said in a statement. “There are no easy solutions for these systemic issues of racism, injustice, and trauma. BET is leveraging every platform and resource at our disposal to support and inform our community and help identify strategies and viable solutions in this time of crisis.”

The first special airs June 2 at 8 p.m. ET/PT. “Justice Now: A BET News Special,” hosted by Marc Lamont Hill, feature dialogue with George Floyd’s family, former NBA player Stephen Jackson, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), singer John Legend, rapper Tip “T.I.” Harris, Pulitzer Prize-winning Journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, activist Tamika Mallory, NAACP President Derrick Johnson, Princeton University Department of African American Studies Chairperson Eddie Glaude, Scholar Peniel E. Joseph, Emerald Garner (daughter of Eric Garner), youth activists Michael McDowell and Luis Hernandez and other African American voices in activism, politics and entertainment to reflect on the killing of Floyd on Memorial Day, the protests that have ensued and systemic racism that have led us to where are today.

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BET News will also produce “Justice Now: A BET Town Hall,” a special virtual telecast that will give voice to the collective grief, anger, fear, needs and hopes of our community and feature community leaders and activists to share their views on the reforms necessary in America’s political and criminal justice systems and the importance of voting at state and federal levels. The panel of experts will also provide tangible solutions for sustainable change. This virtual Town Hall will air later in the week.

Additionally, on June 19, BET will air a presidential forum with President Donald Trump and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden invited to “face black America” on national television to address their concerns. Interviewed individually, Trump and Biden will be asked to address a range of critical issues, including the institutional racism that has led to disparities in housing, health, income and the law enforcement and criminal justice systems. They will be asked to provide their specific plans to improve these issues and move America forward.

Sony Delays PS5 Media Reveal Due to Civil Unrest

Sony Network Entertainment June 1 announced it is delaying the planned June 4 PlayStation 5 media event. No future date has been disclosed.

“While we understand gamers worldwide are excited to see PS5 games, we do not feel that right now is the best time for celebration and for now, we want to stand back and allow more important voices to be heard,” SNE wrote in a post on its Twitter feed (@PlayStation).

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The media event had planned to showcase new games for the PS5, which is launching in time for the winter holidays. Sony CEO Jim Ryan recently said global shutdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic had not altered distribution or pricing for the pending bow of PS5.

“It’s obviously introducing a level of complexity any business would prefer not to have to deal with,” Ryan said. “But we’re feeling really good about the supply chain, we’re going to launch this year and we’ll be global.”

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