Texas linebacker DeMarvion Overshown says that until “real action” is taken regarding Longhorns players’ demands that the university be more inclusive for Black athletes and the Black community, he will be “sitting out of all team activities.”
“We have been told that things are being done behind close doors but have yet to see any changes,” Overshown wrote in a tweet. “We are constantly preached urgency throughout the program and I feel that the university should be held to the same standard.”
Last month, dozens of Longhorns athletes issued an unsigned, two-page statement requesting the school rename several campus buildings named after school officials with ties to its segregationist past. They also said the school should stop using “The Eyes of Texas,” which has long been criticized for its connection to minstrel shows with characters in blackface in the early 1900s. It is regularly sung at nearly every organized campus event and players in all sports gather as a team to sing it after every game.
Other requests included the installation of more diverse statues designed by people of color; a permanent Black athletic history in the school’s athletics Hall of Honor; and the renaming of part of Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium after Julius Whittier, the Longhorns’ first Black player.
Texas athletic director Chris Del Conte said he and interim university president Jay Hartzell met with the football team on June 17 and understood the players’ frustrations.
Junior linebacker Juwan Mitchell said after the meeting that he does not “feel comfortable representing the University of Texas,” in a tweet that has since been deleted. “It seems they only have our front but not our backs. People who want to create change don’t care how much money can be lost, don’t care about who hates them or any bad outcomes that may happen. The only thing on your mind should be equality.”
Del Conte told ESPN at the time that he “took no umbrage” with Mitchell’s sentiments. “He’s frustrated like so many of our student-athletes are. He and the team want immediate change, which is understandable, but we will be meeting with all of our teams, so we’re asking for their patience.”
Del Conte also noted that Hartzell was just getting started in his role as president, and was going to be meeting with student organizations, faculty and staff at the school.
Overshown will be a junior. He has made 17 appearances and two starts after playing safety or as a hybrid “joker” in an experienced Texas backfield. New defensive coordinator Chris Ash spoke this spring about his enthusiasm for getting Overshown on the field at linebacker in the Longhorns’ new 3-3-5 defensive scheme.
“I love the way he runs, I love the way he hits,” Ash said. “I think he’s got great position versatility, that he could do a lot of different things.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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