PONTIFICATING FROM THE SUNSHINE STATE – JUNE 1
By Leo Haggerty

WILL ANYTHING CHANGE

First of all, and I will start EVERY article with this paragraph, sports pales in comparison with what is occurring with the Coronavirus. Hopefully, the columns that I, and the rest of our correspondents, provide you is a momentary escape from the trials and tribulations that Americans, and the rest of the world’s population, are experiencing. The COVID-19 is not a video game that you can press reset and get a new life. This is real and dangerous so, above all, be prudent and stay safe.

It would be sacrilegious for us at Its Sports Magazine (ISM), along with Knights Sports Productions (KSP), to cast a blind eye to the situation that has evolved from the death of George Floyd in police custody.  To remain silent may be construed by our readers as not caring or, worse, acceptance of this heinous act.

For this important assignment, I have been delegated to provide our response. Trust me when I tell you, I am honored to perform this task and do not take this charge lightly.

Before I make my statement, I encourage you to read the communique that was sent by the PAC-12.  The conference, being that the murder of Floyd occurred in Minneapolis and Minnesota is not an affiliated member of the PAC-12, was not required to respond.

Still, the powers-that-be in the PAC-12 felt obligated to take a stand and I applaud this decision.  Take a look and I believe you will see what I mean.

Joint Statement from Pac-12 ADs & Pac-12 Conference

Since the horrific and senseless death of George Floyd on May 25, we have all been struggling to come to terms with feelings of anger, frustration and an intense desire to find solutions to this latest, graphic testament to the injustice and racism that continues to exist in our society.
Now, more than ever, we need to find the strength to stand up and become active participants in being a part of the solution to end racism and discrimination of all kinds, and to hold ourselves accountable not only to saying the right things, but more importantly, doing the right things, to get us there.
The injustice before us is not just a problem facing African-Americans, nor a problem just facing minorities.  It is an American injustice, one that we all must own and all must address head on if we wish to create a more humane, more caring and more empathetic society – one free of racism for all us here today and for our children and their children.
The Pac-12 prides itself on our diversity, inclusiveness and commitment to social causes in our communities and our society as a whole.  Over the past days and in the coming days, weeks and months, we will continue to engage with our student-athletes, coaches and other members of our Pac-12 community to discuss how collectively we can take actions to help end racism and injustice.  We will also be hosting a number of forums with our student-athletes, moderated by thought-leaders in combatting racism, to discuss the issues of discrimination and injustice highlighted by this latest tragedy and to develop action plans.
As universities tasked with educating the next generation of leaders, we are in a unique position to be a part of the solution and to hold ourselves accountable.  And here is where we have great hope, and are united in our desire and in our resolve.
As you can see, the PAC-12 is being proactive instead of reactive when it comes to racism and discrimination and injustice.  By educating the future leaders of America, and that’s what an extreme majority of student-athletes will become, these extraordinary individuals can lead by example.
With the above information in hand, everyone involved with ISM/KSP stands with the non-violent protesters who make up a great deal of those expressing their constitutional right to peaceably assemble.  We also support the large majority of police officers who put their life on the line to serve and protect.
We, along with the PAC-12, deplore racism and everything associated with it.  We also urge elected leaders at all levels of government to immediately move to correct this injustice with all deliberate speed.
This issue cannot be “swept under the rug” as it has been on too many occasions in the past.  This time, the people of all races will not let it go away quietly as we have seen over the past seven days.
Action must be taken now.  A delineated plan of cultural change needs to be put into effect immediately.  A  vast majority of the citizens of the United States will accept nothing less.