First off - I don’t believe Jerry to be racist. I think he is often racially insensitive and doesn’t consider others before he speaks. He’s a narcissist, but he’s not racist.
With that clarification out of the way, there are a few things that haven’t been touched on yet in this thread.
I don’t think Jerry’s attitude will lead to a mass exodus, but it has had impacts on current and future players.
In a Slate article, there was a quote that said:
“A source with connections to the Liberty athletic community told me that several high school football players in Georgia declined scholarships to Liberty in early June because of Falwell’s racial insensitivity.”
https://slate.com/human-interest/2020/0 ... culty.html
Around the same time, some of our coaches began tweeting about Georgia to VA connections. The two may not have been connected, but the timing was enough to think it could be.
As for the culture at Liberty, I again don’t think it’s an outright racist culture. It is, however, racially insensitive at times as well.
Liberty - as a school - has always been a Republican university. That’s nothing new. Over the past eight years as Jerry has taken it further right, he hasn’t allowed black voices that weren’t in line with the Republican Party to have a place at Liberty. The Candace Owens and Ben Carsons of the world have been elevated, but anyone who might not fall in line politically - even if they were a strong Christian black voice - wasn’t allowed to have a place.
From the same Slate article:
For some black alumni, the events of the past few weeks have prompted them to reflect on their experiences on campus. Joshua McMillion, who graduated in 2018 and went on to work for the school until this spring, said he was struck by Liberty’s silence during the early waves of the Black Lives Matter movement. “The leaders were either completely silent or would bring in speakers to gaslight students,” he said. He recalled feeling that the school used speakers like Ben Carson to make it look like it was addressing issues important to black students. But when a predominantly black ministry McMillion belonged to wanted to host a panel discussion on Black Lives Matter, an administrator refused to allow the event to take place on campus. They held the event at a local anti-poverty nonprofit instead.
Because Liberty is only interested in showing one side of blackness, it can feel like the school is not open to supporting the black experience as a whole.
On top of these things, because Liberty prides itself on being so politically incorrect, the prevalence of racially insensitive jokes and comments from students is higher with fewer people stepping in to advocate for how those jokes could be harmful. I think to some of the jokes my friends made while in school and look at them through a different lens and realize how insensitive they were. I had no clue at the time.
Because of Liberty’s politics and its flavor of Christianity, it will always be a place where many pieces of black culture won’t be accepted. Many will say these issues come with the territory of being who we are - and that’s a legit take.
The other side of that coin is all these small things adding up to being a turn off for some black students and athletes. It means we will miss out on some great Christian students and great Christian athletes. I don’t think we should degrade or question the motives of black students who say they don’t fit at Liberty. These insensitivities do
exist and they’re because of decisions leadership makes.