The men's basketball team at Kent State University delivered a powerful message of unity during the National Anthem before their game on Wednesday night. Before the anthem started, each member of the team went into the crowd to invite someone of a different race to join them on the court.
According to the Washington Post, the idea was brought to Coach Rob Senderoff's desk by senior Deon Edwin.
"It takes courage for our players to make a statement like this, and I believe it is a representation of the unity in our campus community. There's a lot of people protesting the national anthem, or protesting the election, or religion. You see all of that nationally, and our guys wanted to make a statement. To me, it was a tremendously positive statement. Hopefully, everybody can recognize that. I have a lot of African American players on my team, and they have faced discrimination because of the color of their skin," Senderoff told the Associated Press.
Those who attended the game absolutely loved the gesture and thought that the message was super powerful.
"It went very well. It came off very organic. All the players went into the stands and picked people from the crowd. Everyone came down on the court and was arm-to-shoulder. Fans seemed to really appreciate it. It was cool because I don't think anyone in the crowd knew what was going on. None of the fans knew about it beforehand," said school spokesperson, Eugene Canal.
The players were very proud of their actions and thought what they did was really meaningful, especially during some of the most difficult times the world (and our country) has seen in years.
"We understand all of the issues going on in our world. In these times, we felt it was important to show a sign of unity in our community. Our meaning behind it was to let everybody aware of all the things that are going on in our country know that we wanted to make a stand for unity. That was basically our symbol, and we wanted to treat everybody as one," said point guard Jalen Avery.
Kent State ended up winning the game, too, so it was a good night overall.