Nebraska basketball will have a new addition to the team uniform this season, and it’ll live right above the Adidas logo on the right shoulder of the jersey: a circular patch that reads “No More Hashtags.”
This season, The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved rules to allow student-athletes in all sports to wear patches on their uniforms for commemorative and memorial purposes, as well as to support social justice issues. With coach Fred Hoiberg’s support, the Husker basketball team set out to craft a specific message for their team.
The patch will be worn for both home and road games. It features a red outline with the words “Unity,” “Action,” “Educate,” “Change,” and “Awareness.”
No more hashtags, only change.@HuskerHoops is focused on making change.
Read up on their jersey patch for this season. ⤵️
— Nebraska Huskers (@Huskers) November 25, 2020
Dating back to May and June, Hoiberg and the Husker men’s basketball program has been outspoken on social justice issues. Hoiberg was the first Husker coach to comment on national protests taking place throughout the country this summer in response to the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota. In late August, the basketball team organized an event to take place in front of the team practice facility.
One by one, members of the team came out the facility’s front doors, stepped to a podium, and said the name of a victim or police brutality or racial injustice. Hoiberg followed, stepping to the microphone and saying, “I stand here today for all Black lives.”
He stepped into the background, and guards Kobe Webster and Teddy Allen read prepared statements imploring action and support. Allen closed with what would become the team’s message.
“Caring about someone else’s life should fall within basic human ideals,” he said. “We are standing here together as Black and white people, making it clear that we are sickened by the events taking place in our country involving police brutality and systematic injustices toward our Black people. We want to play a role in change, and we want you all to join us.
“No more hashtags, only change.”
Hoiberg’s program likely won’t be the last Husker team to have a message displayed on their team uniform, and they aren’t the first. The Nebraska football team opted to wear stickers on the back of the team’s helmet this season honoring the legacy of George Flippin, the university’s first Black football player.
As an athletic department, Nebraska had discussions throughout the summer about what to potentially add to its athletics uniforms. When the Big Ten conference announced the postponement of fall sports until the spring, those conversations were tabled, but they were returned to when the league announced that football and basketball would be back on.
Central to those conversations was Diversity and Inclusion director DaWon Baker, who helped to organize and aid Nebraska’s various teams this summer in addressing social justice issues and racial inequality.
— DaWon B. Baker (@dawonbbaker) November 25, 2020
Hoiberg and his team also held educational sessions throughout the summer and fall, meeting with the Lincoln Police Department and partnering with the Malone Community Center Center to mentor kids. Programs at the Malone Center include preschool and after-school care, leadership programs for teens, informational meetings between young Black men and police officers, free legal aid, and youth sports teams
The Big Ten also launched a campaign at the outset of the football season, “United as One,” as part of several conference-wide Equality Coalition initiatives dedicated to constructively and collectively recognizing and eliminating racism and hate. The Equality Coalition, also called the Big Ten’s Anti-Hate and Anti-Racism Coalition, was formed this summer.
“All things are possible in the Big Ten when we unite as one,” said Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren in a release. “I am humbled and deeply appreciative of how our 14 member institutions have communicated, collaborated and committed to develop a conference-wide campaign focused on creating equality and equity in our society.”
Representatives from Nebraska include women’s basketball coach Amy Williams, Hoiberg, Baker, Chancellor Ronnie Green, Deputy Athletic Directors John Johnson and Pat Logsdon, track junior Sadio Fenner, volleyball junior Kayla Caffey, softball junior Courtney Wallace, wrestling head coach Mark Manning, and former baseball player Shawn Buchanan.
Though Warren has taken flak from all sides this summer for his and the conference’s handling of fall sports, Warren, the first Black commissioner of a Power Five conference, has done well by his peers to keep racial inequality and social justice issues at the forefront of conversations around the league.
“Commissioner Warren’s just been very vocal about his stance on this,” Fenner told Hail Varsity. “He wants to make it a safer environment for everybody regardless of your race, your ethnicity, your sexual orientation, your background in general, which I think is also really empowering to see that. It makes me proud to be a part of the Big Ten when our commissioner is making such an effort to try and better everybody around him.”