NORMAL — Illinois State University athletes are holding a protest and march on campus.
The event comes after a controversial statement last week by university Athletics Director Larry Lyons that led athletes to boycott team practices and events.
Lyons, during a video-conferencing meeting with athletes, said that "All Redbird Lives Matter" while mentioning racial injustice. That was seen as mirroring the phrase "All Lives Matter," which is widely interpreted as a dismissive critique to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Lyons, who is white and has worked in the athletic department for 30 years, said his comment was “offensive to our student-athletes" and apologized.
Come join us to celebrate and listen to the black lives that make athletics at ISU possible ✊🏿🖤❤
Lyons’ apology was met with a list of demands from student-athletes on Sunday that included required seminars for athletics administration staff, coaches and athletes, more people of color in positions of power and in mental health facilities, a commitment to more diversity in the athletic training staff and an athletic department plan to support the Black Lives Matter movement and future social justice movements.
The ISU athletic department also Monday released an “Action Plan for Social Change," which says the athletics program is "committed to responding to the list of demands offered by Redbird student-athletes."
This is a developing story that will be updated.
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Contact Randy Sharer at (309) 820-3405. Follow him on Twitter: @Pg_sharer
Illinois State athletes messaged each other after their first video conference of the semester with their athletic director Larry Lyons when they said he commented “All Redbird Lives Matter” in a conversation about race.