Seattle Seahawks defensive end L.J. Collier recounted his childhood experiences growing up in Munday, Texas to reporters on Thursday and said that he was not allowed in some houses because he is Black:
Collier explained that he wants to "be a voice for people of color in small towns" after his experiences in Munday, which has a population of approximately 1,300.
In recent years, numerous Black athletes have discussed their experiences with racism during childhood and adolescence, and those stories have been amplified in light of ongoing protests against systemic racism, social injustice and police brutality in recent months.
"My Mom is white my Dad is black. I grew up in Turner, Oregon which is 95% white. Early in school I remember learning about slavery and civil rights and kids making jokes and saying crazy stuff about me. The school's solution was to have my dad come and take me on a walk.
"In middle school I was told I shouldn't be alive because my parents should have never been together. In middle school kids were either so excited to read the books on civil rights and segregation because they got to say the N word, or they were turning and staring at me when it was my turn to read."
Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown, who has been a vocal advocate for social justice for years, shared stories about his experiences growing up in Marietta, Georgia.
"Racism definitely still exists in the South," Brown told Donald McRae of the Guardian in Jan. 2018.
"I've experienced it through basketball. I've had people call me the N-word. I've had people come to basketball games dressed in monkey suits with a jersey on. I've had people paint their face black at my games. I've had people throw bananas in the stands."
In Jan. 2019, Bleacher Report's "Are You Listening?" series featured Black WNBA and NBA players who recounted the first time they were called a racial slur or treated differently because of the color of their skin, with all instances occurring during their youth:
Collier's experience is just the latest example.
The Seahawks drafted the ex-TCU star 29th overall in 2019. He played 11 games last year as a reserve before entering the starting lineup this year. He had one tackle and a quarterback hit in the Hawks' 38-25 season-opening road win over the Atlanta Falcons