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Sport Opinion: Athletes and coaches played a huge role in changing Mississippi's state flag

03:15  01 july  2020
03:15  01 july  2020 Source:   usatoday.com

Ole Miss, Mississippi State football coaches expected to lobby legislature about state flag

  Ole Miss, Mississippi State football coaches expected to lobby legislature about state flag Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin and Mississippi State coach Mike Leach are expected to lobby Mississippi legislators on to change the state flag.

Commentary: Give sports credit; athletes played a huge role in Mississippi ' s flag change . It's been a hard three and a half months without sports. But in the absence of games and practices, Mississippi ' s athletes and coaches did more to help create change than ever before.

Sports played major role in Mississippi changing its state flag . After urging from coaches and players , the Mississippi legislature voted to remove Confederate battle symbol from state flag . NFL' s New England Patriots sign

It's been a hard three and a half months without sports. But in the absence of games and practices, Mississippi's athletes and coaches did more to help create change than ever before.

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves signed a bill Tuesday evening that mandates the removal of the state flag and bans future use of the Confederate emblem. Years of grassroots efforts and statewide activism went into ensuring Mississippi was no longer the only state to include the emblem of the Confederate battle flag on its flag. The politicians, lobbyists and everyday citizens who fought to make this change happen deserve plenty of credit for persisting and persevering.

Mississippi state flag: Governor to sign bill removing Confederate emblem

  Mississippi state flag: Governor to sign bill removing Confederate emblem Republican Gov. Tate Reeves is set to sign a bill Tuesday evening to remove the Confederate emblem from the official Mississippi state flag, the only remaining state flag to feature the Confederate insignia. © Rogelio V. Solis/AP A Mississippi state flag flies outside the Capitol in Jackson, Miss., Thursday, June 25, 2020. Athletic coaches and their staffs from the state's public universities held a joint news conference and called for a change in the Mississippi state flag.

The Mississippi state flag is currently the only state flag that features the Confederate battle flag . Commentary: Give sports credit; athletes played a huge role in Mississippi ' s flag change .

Mississippi needs to have a flag that is right for all of our students in- state and all of our out-of- state students and student- athletes that come on our campus." Along with Mississippi State women' s basketball coach Nikki McCray-Penson, Davis was one of two coaches selected to speak at a press

Kermit Davis et al. posing for the camera: Mississippi men's basketball coach Kermit Davis speaks at the state Capitol on June 25. © Rogelio V. Solis, AP Mississippi men's basketball coach Kermit Davis speaks at the state Capitol on June 25.

But make no mistake: Sports turned this from a debate to a reality.

I briefly chatted with Ole Miss linebacker MoMo Sanogo on Saturday afternoon. It was around the same time the state Senate was voting to allow Sunday's vote (Both chambers of Mississippi's legislature voted to take down the state flag). Sanogo couldn't contain a wry grin thinking about the implications of the impending vote.

People have fought to get the flag taken down for years, he correctly pointed out. But after all that, he said, it really only took two legislative days for the change to happen.

Mississippians fought and fought and fought to remove the Confederate iconography from their state flag. It turns out that two days of voting could've fixed the issue all along.

Mississippi gov. signs bill removing Confederate emblem from flag

  Mississippi gov. signs bill removing Confederate emblem from flag The flag was the last in the country to display the emblem.Mississippi's legislature voted on Sunday to remove the flag, which was the last in the country to display the battle emblem. The bill passed 91-23 in the House and 37-14 in the Senate.

A Mississippi state flag at the Capitol in Jackson on Thursday.Credit Rogelio V. Solis/Associated Press. The flag , the only state banner left in the country with the overt Confederate symbol, served for many as an Football and basketball coaches paraded through the Capitol urging a change .

Mississippi ' s state legislature has voted to remove the Confederate symbol from its flag after 126 years after both the Senate and House voted to Former Ole Miss guard Blake Hinson said the Confederate symbol on the state flag of Mississippi played a role in his decision to transfer to Iowa

Of course, that's being reductive. Plenty of effort went into this bill passing. It's important to acknowledge the role sports played in this, though.

The NCAA and Southeastern Conference put pressure on Mississippi, the NCAA outright prohibiting postseason events in this state until the flag was changed or taken down. Mississippi's public universities followed with condemnation after condemnation of the flag and its symbolism.

Opinion: It's time for Ole Miss to finally do away with 'Rebels' nickname

More: Of more than 1,000 head coaches in NCAA sports at Power Five programs, less than 10 percent are Black

Mississippi State running back Kylin Hill increased the pressure, tweeting last week that he's no longer willing to represent any Mississippi institutions on the field if the flag isn't taken down. A number of his teammates supported him, as did his head coach Mike Leach.

Mississippi lawmakers vote to remove Confederate battle emblem from state flag

  Mississippi lawmakers vote to remove Confederate battle emblem from state flag The Mississippi state legislature voted Sunday to remove the Confederate battle emblem from the state flag. © Rogelio V. Solis/AP This June 25, 2020, file photo shows a Mississippi state flag flying outside the Capitol in Jackson, Miss. The bill now goes to Republican Gov. Tate Reeves's desk. On Saturday, Reeves said he would sign the bill if the legislature passed it. That afternoon, the state House and state Senate passed measures allowing for a vote on changing the flag. On Sunday afternoon, the state House voted 91-23 to remove the emblem.

Hinson: Mississippi flag played role in transfer. Ole Miss basketball coach Kermit Davis was among a contingent of 46 coaches and administrators from eight public universities who went to the state legislature Thursday to lobby for the emblem' s removal.

A former Ole Miss player says Mississippi flag was a big reason he transferred. Sports figures in Mississippi led the way as state legislators Sunday passed a resolution to remove a Confederate Other athletes did just that, too. Kylin Hill, a Mississippi State running back, tweeted last week that

Then Thursday happened.

Forty-six coaches from eight different Mississippi universities descended on the Capitol. Ole Miss men's basketball coach Kermit Davis and Mississippi State women's basketball coach Nikki McCray-Penson both gave passionate speeches. Davis spoke from the perspective of a born-and-raised Mississippian ready to see his home-state change. McCray-Penson spoke from the perspective of a newcomer who understands the lifelong struggles of being a Black person in the South who has to deal with the ever-present specter of seeing images she believes represent hatred.

Athletes, coaches and conferences obviously weren't the only institutions to put pressure on Mississippi lawmakers to make this change. Representatives from every walk of life chimed in too, ranging from religious leaders and entertainment celebrities to major businesses and even politicians themselves.

KJ Wright relieved that Mississippi can move forward after flag change

  KJ Wright relieved that Mississippi can move forward after flag change Seahawks linebacker KJ Wright wants to be proud of his home state. And while things might not be perfect in Mississippi, the decision to change the state’s flag to remove the old Confederate battle flag is in his mind a step forward. “My first reaction was, ‘Finally’,” Wright said, via Ben Arthur of SeattlePI.com “’Thank [more]And while things might not be perfect in Mississippi, the decision to change the state’s flag to remove the old Confederate battle flag is in his mind a step forward.

Coaches from Mississippi ’ s universities urged lawmakers to change state flag . UP NEXT. NOW PLAYING : Medical.

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But it's important to note just how powerful a united message from the athletic community can be. Mississippi didn't just realize this week that a large chunk of its population supported flag reform. This has been known for years.

So it doesn't feel like a coincidence that Sunday's votes happened 10 days after the SEC's announcement, nine days after the NCAA's announcement, six days after Hill's tweet and three days after nearly every prominent athletics employee in the state visited the Capitol.

Need further proof? Omeria Scott, a Mississippi congresswoman representing District 80 in the House of Representatives, suggested naming the flag change legislation after Hill. Scott said "the voice of this young man was a tremendous voice" when describing Hill.

That motion was tabled, but it speaks to just how influential someone like Hill can be when trying to create change. In some respects, the actions of one college football player accelerated the efforts and voices of thousands of others who had been fighting the same battle unsuccessfully.

Now more than ever, we're starting to see college athletes use their voices to create change. These student-athletes aren't gladiators. They aren't nameless, faceless warriors who run around in armor on Saturday afternoons to entertain the masses. They aren't automatons programmed to throw and catch prolate spheroids who get switched off when the final buzzer rings.

Mississippi governor says will sign bill, if it passes, to change 'divisive' state flag

  Mississippi governor says will sign bill, if it passes, to change 'divisive' state flag "The argument over the 1894 flag has become as divisive as the flag itself and it’s time to end it," Gov. Tate Reeves said in a tweet Saturday.Gov. Tate Reeves' statement comes as Mississippi lawmakers are expected to consider a measure on the flag Saturday.

These athletes are people with opinions and goals.

Take Ole Miss defensive end Ryder Anderson. I caught up with Anderson after the LOUnited rally on Saturday, a march for unity and progress he planned with Sanogo. I asked Anderson about this very topic, and he sees a bright future for athletes like himself and Hill who choose to use their platforms for more than trying to get bowl eligible.

"We can step up," Anderson said. "We can use our voice, use our platform. Together we are really strong. We can really make stuff happen if we just come together."

If we learned anything from this last week in Mississippi, it's that Anderson no longer has to speak hypothetically. Change happened.

Give athletes the credit they deserve.

This article originally appeared on Mississippi Clarion Ledger: Opinion: Athletes and coaches played a huge role in changing Mississippi's state flag

Satanic Temple plans to sue Mississippi if state puts 'In God We Trust' on flag .
The Satanic Temple is warning Mississippi that it will pursue a lawsuit against the state if it puts the phrase “In God We Trust” on its state flag, as is currently planned. © The Hill the Mississippi flag against the sky Late last month, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) signed legislation into law doing away with the state's flag design, which had featured the Confederate flag symbol for more than 120 years. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.

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