For the last week, the sports world has been split down the middle as to whether athletes should use a public arena like a game, to protest.
The conversation started when Tayvon Austin and some teammates from the St. Louis Rams walked out the locker-room and onto the field with their hands up to signify solidarity with the protestors in Ferguson Missouri.
It kept going after NBA players Derrick Rose, Lebron James and Kobe Bryant all donned shirts days after each other that read, “I Can’t Breathe” the now famous last words of New York City resident Eric Garner as he was choked to death by a police officer.
What many forget is another athlete and her team who staged a protests before far fewer eyes and we’re met with far worse penalties.
On December 1st, Ariyana Smith a basketball player at Knox College in Galesburg Illinois and her teammates staged their own protest before a contest.
According to the Galesburg Times, the team held a five-minute protest before the start of Knox’s game at Fontebonne University in Clayton, Missouri. Her decision to first raise a clenched fist, then put both hands above her head, then kneel before the American flag before collapsing at end of the national anthem drew swift response from the college’s administration.
Unlike Lebron and the other athletes who gave a silent demonstration before a game, Smith felt action from her school immediately.
Knox Athletic Director Chad Eisele suspended her indefinitely following a Monday conference call.
That suspension was cut down to one game, then discarded late Tuesday afternoon.
In the wake of the news of her reinstatement to the basketball team, Smith stayed inside the ABLE Center for Black Culture and told how she came to the decision to protest and detailed the fallout in its aftermath.
She never really got recognition for what she did and sacrificed to get her point across. Her bold stance led to a slew of bigger names, drawing bigger attention to a fight she felt they shared.
Watch a clip of her demonstration below.
Source: Galesburg Times