Two days after the West Virginia Mountaineers marched in Morgantown in support of racial justice and equality, defensive tackle Dante Stills took to Instagram on Wednesday and revealed the Mountaineer football team will wear a BLM sticker on their helmets this season in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Predictably, the mentions on social media are a dumpster fire filled with folks saying they’re done with West Virginia University sports, parroting the usual right-wing talking points. The now former “fans” have called the players everything from racist to terrorist to Marxist — a term I’m fairly confident I could ask almost every one of these people what it means and they wouldn’t even land anywhere near the correct answer.
This type of blowback was bound to happen, as it always does with a fan base in a state that went heavily for Donald Trump in 2016. It’s not uncommon. We saw it happen in 2017 when Bruce Irvin and Karl Joseph took a knee during the National Anthem before the Oakland Raiders’ game against Washington Football Team — the “Once A Mountaineer, Always A Mountaineer” motto was thrown out the window that night — and we saw it happen earlier this year when Kerry Martin spoke out about former defensive coordinator Vic Koenning.
The people that complained then are the same people that are once again “done with WVU sports once and for all” and it’s clear their threats are not deterring the Mountaineers.
One thing I can promise is if you choose to not support the WVU football team for wearing BLM decals, we will not miss you and we will still continue to play our games without you watching ♂️ s/o to the real fans you don’t go unnoticed #BLM— Bryce Ford-Wheaton (@Brycewheat3) September 3, 2020
Neal Brown and the Mountaineer football team decided that this criticism was worth the message they are sharing, and they are absolutely correct in doing so. When all is said and done, it’ll be clear who stood on the right side of history.
The truth of the matter is that basic human rights are not politics and all lives cannot matter until black lives matter.
I assure you, West Virginia football and every other Mountaineer athletic program that stands with them will continue on just fine whether they have your support next Saturday or not — although I’m sure I’ll be able to check your Twitter timeline and see you complaining about a third down call.