FILE - In this March 12, 2020, file photo, Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren addresses the media in Indianapolis after it was announced that the remainder of the Big Ten Conference men's basketball tournament had been canceled. Warren, the first black commissioner of a Power Five conference, is creating a coalition to give the league's athletes a platform to voice their concerns about racism. Warren announced Monday, June 1, 2020, the formation of the Big Ten Anti-Hate and Anti-Racism Coalition, with athletes, coaches, athletic director and university chancellors and presidents.
Photo: AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File
Photo: AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File

Big Ten commissioner announces creation of Anti-Hate and Anti-Racism Coalition

Kevin Warren: ‘We all need to strive to make the world a better place’

Big Ten Conference Commissioner Kevin Warren announced Monday he will create an Anti-Hate and Anti-Racism Coalition and invited student-athletes, coaches, athletic directors, chancellors, presidents and others to join him.

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In a letter Warren shared, he wrote, “On Monday, May 25, 2020, George Floyd, a proud Black man, was killed by a member of law enforcement in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Philando Castile, Emmett Till. The list goes on and on.

“Prior to joining the Big Ten Conference as Commissioner and relocating to Chicago, my family had lived full-time in the Minneapolis area for over 15 years as I worked as an executive with the Minnesota Vikings in the National Football League. Our kids were raised in Minnesota and attended school in Minnesota before leaving for college and the people of the great state of Minnesota are part of the fabric of our entire family.

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“As a Black man, I pray every day for the health and safety of my wife and children, especially during interactions with law enforcement. We continue to see inequality and deep divide regarding how members of the Black community are treated compared to the rest of society and too often, the results have been horrific and senseless. Such racism and inequality are pervasive, not just endemic in law enforcement.

“Meaningful change will only occur if, as a nation, we are united, resilient and determined to create difficult, uncomfortable dialogue and take significant tangible action. We all need to strive to make the world a better place. One person, one family, one city, one state, one conference, one country.

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“George Floyd’s death cannot be in vain. I have made the decision to create the Big Ten Conference Anti-Hate and Anti-Racism Coalition and invite student-athletes, coaches, athletic directors, chancellors, presidents and others to join me. I have already received powerful notes of support and interest in joining this coalition and look forward to partnering with the existing diversity councils on our various campuses. It is critical that our student-athletes possess their rights to free speech, their rights to peaceful protest and we will work to empower them in creating meaningful change.”

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