With sports returning, more Texas teams and players speak out

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In a normal year, many Texans would be heading out to the ballpark to watch the Astros or the Rangers. Some would be gearing up to watch Wimbledon. And likely even more would be excited for the Olympics and an opportunity to cheer on Team USA in a bevy sports.

This is not a normal year. Wimbledon is canceled. The Olympics is postponed to next year. And Major League Baseball is still up in the air.

Still, some leagues are carrying on and proceeding with plans to start or resume their seasons. In Texas, this comes after many coaches and teams offered their support to protesters, or even protested themselves. For many players, the era of lip service is over.

Several student athletes at the University of Texas are refusing to take part in any recruitment or donor events until the college agrees to a number of demands, including the renaming of several buildings and terminating usage of the song “The Eyes of Texas.”

A number of prominent former Longhorn athletes signed on to a statement supporting the activism of current athletes.

Recently, voluntary workouts for the football team were halted after 13 players tested positive for COVID-19.

In the wake of Drew Brees recanting previous remarks about kneeling during the anthem being disrespectful to the flag (which earned rebukes from President Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz), more white players have spoken out, including Houston Texan J.J. Watt. On Twitter, Watt responded to a fan saying he was “pretty sure” Watt would not be taking a knee. Watt responded by saying, “If you still think it’s about disrespecting the flag or our military, you clearly haven’t been listening.”

Houston Texans coach Bill O’Brien recently said he would be taking a knee during the anthem, and that players have a right to protest.

Jerry Jones, the owner of the Dallas Cowboys who is hardly media shy, has said nothing publicly regarding kneeling or the massive protests following George Floyd’s death. The Dallas Cowboys were the very last team to put out any statement following the nationwide protests.

Cowboys defensive tackle Gerald McCoy called out the owner for his silence in an interview with ESPN. “It would be great to hear a statement from the Cowboys, great to hear a statement from Jerry Jones in support of everything that’s going on. Will that get me in trouble saying that? I don’t know, but the truth is it needs to be said.” McCoy is currently raising awareness about Juneteenth and pushing to make it a federal holiday.

Earlier this week it was announced that several players from the Texans and Cowboys tested positive for COVID-19.

The NBA is slated to return next month with playoff-bound teams quarantining at three different Disney World properties. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban told ESPN that he would “hopefully join” any player kneeling during the anthem.

Gregg Popovich, the coach of the San Antonio Spurs, spoke to the New York Times about his disgust in owners like Jerry Jones and their support of Donald Trump.

Today, on Juneteenth, Major League Soccer debuted the Black Players Coalition. A statement appeared on multiple social media platforms regarding the coalition. “This is a new organization that will address the racial inequalities in our league, stand with all those fighting racism in the world of soccer, and positively impact black communities across the United States and Canada.”

Last month Abbott told an interviewer that he expects college football to start on time with “some fans” in the stands.

Photo: Ira L. Black/Corbis via Getty Images

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