By Courtney Cole/Delta Staff Writer

Protests over the deaths of black men and women at the hands of law enforcement have taken place across the country during the summer of 2020 and players on the Missouri Valley College football team recently staged a protest of their own.

On Aug. 27, the players chose to sit out of practice in response to the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis. Blake was shot seven times in the back while he was walking back to his vehicle. Blake’s family has indicated that the shooting has left him paralyzed from the waist down and that he may never be able to walk again.

Mike Saole, a junior offensive lineman, said he chose to sit out on the practice because of his teammates and everything that has been happening over the summer with the BLM (Black Lives Matter) movement and that the coaches had never addressed what was happening within our community and also over the United States. 

Saole said it was time for him to take a stand. He said he has siblings of color and chose to take a stand for them and their safety. 

Ronnie Warren, a senior on the defensive line, said the team came to a conclusion to sit out during practice due to the situation in Wisconsin never being acknowledged and the athletes themselves had to make a stand for what is happening in the communities. 

Both Saole and Warren said they thought the protest they had made will make a difference within our community and it showed how important it is to stand up for what you believe in. 

Head Coach Paul Troth said  he was proud of the players and their actions showed all of the coaches that it was a situation that needed to be discussed with everyone, even though race is a very hard topic to talk about. 

Due to the fact of the team being new with so many freshmen as well as upperclassmen being on the team and learning from each other, Troth was very proud of them coming together on this topic in a very respectful way.

“If there is not a wrong, we as people should talk about it,” he said. “There are always some things we do not want to talk about and the issue with Black Lives Matter and race has always been a difficult subject to talk about, but we have to have some open honest conversation to have a better understanding.”