I’ve never fully understood how racism in our sport was so prevalent, until now.
Dear Parents & Players,
I have been watching our country change so quickly over the past few weeks, and I am filled with emotion by what I see.
The Black Lives Matter movement has reached every corner of America. It has certainly reached the lacrosse community.
I’ve never fully understood how racism in our sport was so prevalent, until now. As a white man from a privileged background, I’ve never thought a lot about racism, and never took the time to understand how black players and coaches experienced racism in our sport.
Through conversations and observations, I understand now that I need to do much more.
Let me first start by acknowledging that our various ADVNC social media channels voiced support for the Black Lives Matter movement when the protests were just getting started at the beginning of June. Among other posts, we posted a message that said:
Stop Violence. Stop Racism. We Stand for Equality, Peace & Love.
Those words were not nearly enough, and words alone are not going to help fix this problem.
I want to do more, I will do more, and I ask for your support.
I have been in the sport of lacrosse since I was a young boy. Lacrosse and the lacrosse community have given me so much.
Lacrosse in America has historically been played by and supported overwhelmingly by white people. That is a fact we can’t ignore. We have made efforts over the years to “grow the game,” and welcome more non-white players into the sport and into the community at large. We still have a long way to go on that front.
The larger issue I am learning about now, is the experiences of racism felt by black players and coaches while playing lacrosse. This is not something I knew was so prevalent, and it must stop now.
Our lacrosse family needs to do a better job of having conversations with people with different backgrounds than us, and tell them they are welcome in our lacrosse family. We also need to do a better job of having the same types of conversations with people who come from similar backgrounds as us and get each other to understand that racism has no place in our sport or our country.
Hatred and racism must never be accepted, and I’m asking for your help to put an end to these things if you see them take place.
Lacrosse is the greatest game in the world. It is played by strong men and women. But the game and the community will only be as strong as we make it. This game will grow stronger if we are more inclusive to minorities and to people of all kinds of different backgrounds and upbringings.
We can help change the world for the better by helping build a future that is more open, more inclusive and more free, for everyone.
We must not be silent on these issues anymore. We must speak up for and support our American brothers and sisters, regardless of where they grew up, where they went to school, or what color their skin is.
We must speak up for justice, for all Americans. And we must speak up for equality, peace and love.
I ask you to join me. I welcome your thoughts. I look forward to this being just the start of a long, thoughtful and honest conversation, where we can start to take action to stop racism everywhere it exists.
ADVNC Lacrosse Founder & CEO