On Thursday, the Alabama Crimson Tide became the latest sports team to release a video speaking out against systemic racism.
Following in the footsteps of videos released by the Baltimore Ravens and some of the biggest names in the NFL, the Crimson Tide make it explicitly clear that “all lives can’t matter until Black lives matter.”
The video, written by star offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood, features appearances by quarterback Mac Jones, linebacker Dylan Moses and wideouts DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle. Head coach Nick Saban is also prominently featured.
“In this moment in history, we can’t be silent,” Saban says. “We must speak up for our brothers and sisters, for our sons and daughters.”
While the football team’s efforts to address racism in our society should be commended, the timing has raised eyebrows. Earlier this month, former gymnast Tia Kiaku revealed that during her time on the Alabama gymnastics team in 2019, she endured a racist joke from an assistant coach and detailed other incidents.
“Do we really stand together?” she tweeted, in response to a #BlackoutTuesday message from the Alabama gymnastics Twitter account. “The program that allowed the Assistant Coach to make a racist ‘joke’ & ask a group of black girls ‘what is this the back of the bus’,allowed gymnast to say the N word, and much more. You cant stand with us & allow injustices to happen.”
Kiaku then spoke to ESPN and explained each of these incidents in detail:
Kiaku told ESPN of an incident in which an assistant coach made a comment when three black women were doing vault drills together: “What is this, the back of the bus?”
She also said there were numerous occasions in which white women on the team used the N-word without repercussions.
Alabama gymnastics head coach Dana Duckworth has since publicly apologized and admitted that she was “ultimately responsible” for what transpired, but that doesn’t erase Kiaku’s experiences—or the fact that the assistant coach was allowed to remain on the team.
“The one thing that drove me to Alabama was that they really stressed unity and family and class and sisterhood,” Kiaku told ESPN. “You can’t be part of a community and let injustice happen to part of your community. You can’t have class if you let these things happen. You can’t have sisterhood when you’re leaving someone behind. They don’t practice what they preach at all.”
So to that end, even though they’re separate programs, Alabama might want to address its affairs in-house before making public statements denouncing the very acts occurring on its own campus.