University of Texas Athletes are Demanding that the School Destroy its Own History
University of Texas athletes are demanding that the school song “The Eyes of Texas” be removed.
Additionally, ESPN reported that the athletes demanded changes to the names of campus buildings as a way of making the Austin campus more inclusive to blacks.
If these changes are not implemented, athletes said they would continue practicing and participating in team activities but “will not be participating in the recruitment of incoming players or other alumni events.”
“The recent events across the country regarding racial injustice have brought to light the systemic racism that has always been prevalent in our country as well as the racism that has historically plagued our campus,” the athletes declared in a statement, which several students shared on social media.
ESPN noted some of the athletes’ demands:
Among their requests are the renaming of four campus buildings that are named after Confederate or racist figures; more diverse statues by people of color; a permanent black athletic history in the school’s athletics Hall of Honor; and the renaming of part of Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium after Julius Whittier, the Longhorns’ first black player.
One of the players who spread this statement around was wide receiver Brennan Eagles, who posted on Twitter on June 3 that he was “not going to play another snap knowing what’s going on in our society due to color and the system being broken. Let’s look at the bigger picture.”
Eagles did not make any further comments on the matter until the statement was released on June 12, 2020.
“I am always willing to have meaningful conversations regarding any concerns our student-athletes have,” Texas athletic director Chris Del Conte declared in a statement. “We will do the same in this situation and look forward to having those discussions.”
“The Eyes of Texas” has generally been played before and after every Texas Longhorns football game. In recent years, the song has generally been placed under increased scrutiny because of its first performance in a minstrel show, which featured several blackface performances, in 1903.
According to the Texas State Historical Association, the University of Texas board of regents maintained the “The Eyes of Texas” as the university’s official song in its commemoration of the 100th anniversary of its first performance.
Leslie Blair, executive director of communications for the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, said to the The Daily Texan in 2019 that the school is aware of the problems the school faces.
“We don’t want to forget the history of it,” Blair stated. “It’s important to keep it alive. The university is aware of its past, of course, and we try to acknowledge it and hopefully offset it a little bit.”
The players requested that Robert Lee Moore Hall, Painter Hall, Littlefield Hall and the James Hogg Auditorium be renamed. In addition, they demanded that the statue of Hogg also be removed, which was originally removed from the university’s south mall in August 2017 before it was reinstalled in December 2018.
“We are aware of three petitions created by students and look forward to working with them and the UT community to create the best possible experience on our campus for black students,” stated J.B. Bird, Texas’ director of media relations and issues management.
America is going through a cultural revolution of sorts. It will ultimately need to re-assess its priorities and recognize that history should be preserved if we want to pass on important lessons to succeeding generations.
By letting the iconoclasts win, they will not only erase history, but they will take even bolder action and make legitimate attempts to destroy the country from within.