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Friday, June 14, 2024

NAACP president asks Black student-athletes to reassess attending Florida universities, colleges

Derrick Johnson and Emmitt Smith expressed concern with UF decision

UF students climb up and down the stands of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on the morning of Saturday, Feb. 26.
UF students climb up and down the stands of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on the morning of Saturday, Feb. 26.

On Monday, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People asked Black student-athletes to reexamine attending public universities and colleges in Florida, according to an article from ESPN.  

This comes after UF, as well as the University of North Florida and Florida International University, shut down its diversity, equity and inclusion programs. 

UF fired 13 full-time DEI positions and terminated 15 administrative appointments for faculty March 1 in response to a 2023 Florida statute prohibiting the university from spending state or federal funds on DEI initiatives. 

Per ESPN, Derrick Johnson, the NAACP president and CEO wrote in a letter to the NCAA, “This is not about politics. It's about the protection of our community, the progression of our culture, and most of all, it's about your education, and your future.”

Along with Johnson, former Florida athletes have expressed disappointment with the decision. Former Gators running back and NFL Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith posted a statement on X March 3. 

“I’m utterly disgusted by UF’s decision and the precedent that it sets,” Smith said. “Without the DEI department, the job falls to the Office of the Provost, who already has their hands full, to raise money for the university and continue to advance the academic studies and athletic programs.”

Contact Bennett Solomon at bsolomon@alligator.org. Follow him on X @B_Soly11.

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