The Wisconsin athletic department released a statement on Thursday announcing the inclusion of a new crest on Badgers uniforms this year. Here is the statement in full, followed by a few additional thoughts.
MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin student-athletes will be showing their solidarity with Black and other underrepresented communities on campus when Badger sports teams return to action.
UW Athletics uniforms will include a university crest logo with a black “W,” a show of support, inclusion and unity from Badger student-athletes, the UW Athletic Department and UW-Madison as a whole.
“I have previously stated my commitment to taking meaningful steps involving issues of diversity and inclusion in our athletic department,” UW Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez said. “There is plenty of work to do, but I am pleased we will be able to show our support in a way that is important to our student-athletes.”
Earlier this summer a number of current and former Badger student-athletes publicly stated their desire to wear the university’s “Crest W” on their athletic uniforms. The “W” in the crest is white, but will be changed to black on Badger athletics uniforms. UW Athletics officials worked with student-athletes to also include a black Motion W that will also have a presence on select athletic apparel.
Wisconsin football player Madison Cone has been at the forefront of the discussion to add the different crest to athletic uniforms. He was also named to the B1G’s Anti-Hate and Anti-Racism Coalition along with softball player Tyra Turner.
The Big Ten takes the next steps in empowering its student-athletes with the announcement of the members of the Big Ten Anti-Hate and Anti-Racism Coalition and the launch of the Big Ten Voter Registration Initiative.https://t.co/Yjl3FbJZQ1 pic.twitter.com/i7rmlcNTZt— Big Ten Conference (@bigten) June 15, 2020
Cone had tweeted out a letter on July 2nd, signed by current and former athletes at UW, asking for this small sign of solidarity.
“This is the first way the University’s athletes and the University of Wisconsin-Madison can show that they are committed to creating an inclusive campus for all,” the letter ends.
You say your an ally... show us! @UWMadison @UWBadgers pic.twitter.com/pLq7S9Tfoo— Madison Cone (@Coney31island) July 2, 2020
“You feel like minority individuals, when they’re starting to make progressions in this country, something (Floyd’s death) emerges and it’s like, ‘Well, we haven’t come as far as we’ve thought,’” Cone told the State Journal in June. “It just makes you think that it could’ve been me, one of my brothers, one of my siblings. It just makes you really think. You just really think of, ‘OK, this is where we still currently are. What can we do to make it better?’ That’s where I think this coalition is going to be big for us, giving us a platform to really use our voices.”
This is a good first step by Wisconsin in striving to make campus, and Madison itself, a more welcoming place for Black students and other students of color as well. It is important to note that this is a “first” step and not something that has “solved racism” or made institutional change.
The university and the athletic department listened to their students and hopefully that continues in the future.