The Wisconsin basketball program certainly isn’t shying away from political activism and speaking out on the social justice issues of the day.
Earlier this week, I wrote about point guard Bronson Koenig and how he has shouldered the burden of helping the Standing Rock Sioux fight against a pipeline that would cut across their sacred lands even though his Native American blood is Ho-Chunk, a totally different tribe.
On Wednesday night and all day Thursday, it was Nigel Hayes — who has lashed out against the NCAA and amateurism publicly — speaking out on racial inequality and police brutality, the same cause that San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is protesting the anthem over. In the last week, an unarmed black man with his hands up was shot and killed by a police officer in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and a black man, whose family says he was armed only with a book, was shot and killed by police officers in Charlotte. The latter sparked a protest that turned violent on Wednesday night.
With Hayes, this all started with this tweet on Wednesday night … :
… and as his twitter mentions began to pile up, Hayes began to fire back. Regardless of your opinion on the matter, it doesn’t take long to figure out that Hayes is not only incredibly passionate about the subject, but he has the knowledge and facts to support his opinion. That shouldn’t be surprising, considering that the header photo on his twitter page is from the ‘Ali Summit’ in 1967, when Jim Brown, Bill Russell and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar joined Ali to support his take on the Vietnam War and the U.S. government.
I strongly suggest reading through his page, particularly if you’re inclined to disagree with the Black Lives Matter movement.
It is going to be interesting to see where Hayes — and the Badgers — go from here. Will he continue to voice his opinion? Will this manifest itself in a protest like Kaepernick? Will there be other college players that stand up with him?
Hayes has a chance to be the Big Ten Player of the Year, meaning he has a platform. Throw in that he’s a bright kid that clearly isn’t afraid to voice his opinion publicly, and he’s a pretty good choice to lead this push in the college basketball ranks.