Michigan State Basketball to Wear Warm-Up Shirts to Spark Social Justice Talk

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistNovember 8, 2017

EAST LANSING, MI - OCTOBER 26: Miles Bridges #22 of the Michigan State Spartans drives to the basket in the second half against the Ferris State Bulldogs during the exhibition game at Breslin Center on October 26, 2017 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

The Michigan State Spartans will wear warm-up shirts that read,"We talk, we listen" on the front and "It's not about me, it's about us," before basketball games this season, according to Kyle Austin of MLive.com. 

Head coach Tom Izzo confirmed that the shirts came about after "multiple team meetings about social injustices, touching on race, religion and other social issues," per Austin.

"We felt like saying nothing was not right, because we all agree that there are social injustices," Izzo noted. "We thought making certain things too big of a deal, we've got a job to do, and that job is to win basketball games. If somehow we can bring the two together, then we've accomplished something."

"We felt that there were too many people talking and not enough people listening," he added. "Everybody has an opinion and everybody talks about things and not a lot gets done."

He also noted that the team felt compelled to take some sort of action, per Brendan F. Quinn of The Athletic: 

Izzo added that the team wouldn't be protesting during the national anthem and would continue to stand with hands on hearts during the anthem before games.

The "It's not about me, it's about us," quote originated from star sophomore Miles Bridges in April, precluding his decision to return to school for another year rather than enter the NBA draft: 

The shirts come in the wake of the landscape of college and professional athletes protesting police brutality and racial inequality during the playing of the national anthem. The story has become a major point of contention in the NFL, with President Donald Trump chiming in and Colin Kaepernick suing the NFL for collusion, suggesting NFL owners jointly blackballed him from the league due to his political stance.

Izzo maintained that Michigan State's shirts were an attempt to create dialogue rather than inspire further divide.

"We're not trying to capture the moment, we're trying to create a movement, and that is a major statement," he said. "This isn't for show, this isn't to make anybody feel good, it's not to make anybody feel bad."

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