The University of Oklahoma Athletics Department is sponsoring a “Sooners for Humanity” campaign, which features a patch emblazoned with the phrase “Black Lives Matter” above three raised fists.
The university explained the purpose of its campaign in a Black History Month frequently asked questions webpage.
According to the page, each student will have the option of wearing the “unity patch” on their team uniforms, in addition to the Big 12’s social justice t-shirts. Each home game will feature a 30-second “unity statement” and video, followed by a 10-second “Moment of Self-Reflection.”
All schools in the Big 12 Conference developed the messaging and are participating.
The FAQ states that University of Oklahoma student-athletes have committed themselves “to using their platform to being part of our nation’s solution to a problem many of them endure and live with every day.”
“They have chosen to do this with a visual and symbolic show of unity, a uniform patch that features ‘Black Lives Matter’ and a logo they created that illustrates fists raised together in unity,” continues the page. “For our student-athletes, this imagery symbolizes strong solidarity and unity — not division or discord.”
The university also insists that it is not “supporting a political organization” by employing the statement “Black Lives Matter.” Rather, they are supporting student-athletes who are “understandably upset and concerned with the persistent racism present in our country.”
Beyond the unity patch and social justice messaging at the games, the initiative features “mandatory training programs.”
University of Oklahoma Athletics Department spokesman Mike Houck told Campus Reform that these programs include an “annual know-your-rights workshop” for incoming student-athletes, a “voting education program” for student-athletes and athletics staff prior to any election cycle, and a university-wide mandatory diversity training “for all students, faculty, and staff.”
Campus Reform previously reported on this mandatory diversity training, which discouraged students from using the phrase “All Lives Matter.” Campus Reform obtained exclusive video footage of the training, which can be seen above (no audio available).
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