The University of South Carolina football program, led by head coach Will Muschamp, decided to cancel all football operations for Monday, Aug. 31 to focus its efforts on an on-campus demonstration for racial justice. The women's soccer program and the football team protested on Greene Street all wearing "'matter' is the minimum" shirts, inspired by redshirt junior quarterback Jay Urich’s sign from the football team’s first march outside the governor’s mansion in early June.
The players participated in COVID testing Monday morning and then arrived on Greene Street in front of Russell House University Union.
Members of the football team, including Urich and redshirt sophomore wide receiver Dakereon Joyner, spoke during the demonstration, and they were joined at the podium by senior midfielder Lauren Chang from the women’s soccer team.
“For a life to matter is not enough. Matter is the minimum,” Urich said before leading the group of demonstrators in prayer.
Joyner, a native of North Charleston, delivered a personal message about two of his family members who were killed in the shooting at Mother Emmanuel church in 2015 that saw him pause to gather himself. He also mentioned other racially motivated incidences of violence that hit close to home for him and his family.
Chang said everyone should continue to educate themselves about racial inequality to become allies, and she said she encouraged her teammates and classmates to carry their "energy and passion" for change to the polls this November.
“We can no longer afford to be silent, especially in times where silence is the easy way out. We cannot, and will not, go back to the way things were. We are headed forward because this is a movement, not a moment,” Chang said.
On Wednesday, Aug. 26, the Milwaukee Bucks chose to not take the court for Game 5 of their series against the Orlando Magic. In the wake of this decision, two other NBA games were postponed, and soon the WNBA, MLB and MLS joined in postponing all competitions for the day. The protests were in light of the shooting of unarmed Jacob Blake by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
The demonstration lasted less than 30 minutes total, but the teams’ message was unified: Matter is the minimum.