JR Pace and the Northwestern football team remind us of something greater than football as the Big Ten season approaches.
The senior defensive back shared a powerful video on social media Wednesday evening, commenting on racism in America and the support he and his teammates are asking for this season from the greater Northwestern community.
In the video narrated by Pace titled “If You Cheer Us, Hear Us,” he reminds Northwestern fans to not only support the Wildcats as they battle on the field, but to show that same support when they speak out about racism in country and around campus.
“Do you hear us when we tell you we get racially profiled in our own college towns,” Pace asks. “That we wear team gear just to signal that we belong? Can you hear our fear when we watch another innocent, unarmed Black person killed on camera by the police, realizing that it could be me or my brother next.”
The powerful clip features appearances from some of Pace’s fellow Black teammates including Kyric McGowan, Ramaud Chiaokhiao-Bowman and Greg Newsome II, who all contributed to the call to action by promoting the video on social media as well.
As many college athletes began to speak up about racial injustice this summer in the wake of the death of George Floyd and shooting of Jacob Blake, Pace’s efforts continue the dialogue into the coming season. Back in June, RCB publicly spoke about a similar topic when he joined a panel of Big Ten athletes discussing education about racial justice issues. The Big Ten furthered this mission through the assembly of their Anti-Hate and Anti-Racism Coalition, comprised of athletes, coaches and administrators from all 14 Big Ten schools, including Bryce Jackson, Marty Long and Lou Ayeni and many other Northwestern representatives.
Pace’s video is released during a critical time on Northwestern’s campus as students have protested daily since October 12 to disband university police. NU athletes have now used their platforms to further spread the message of racial equality and justice and ask the greater community to keep working toward social change throughout the season.
“Until we all commit to listening, learning, educating and action, nothing will change,” Pace said. “If you cheer us, hear us. We need you.”