Tennessee football stands for social justice

The social injustice issue in the United States has been brought to light since the death of George Floyd in May. There have been peaceful protests ever since happening in many major cities across the country. With the negative light shining on the social injustice issue, a positive one shines on the people and groups that come together to show their support toward black lives.

Tennessee football is among those who are fighting the fight to end social injustice.

Head coach Jeremy Pruitt and his staff and players attended numerous peaceful protests in Knoxville over the summer months. The team joined the Knoxville community members in a peaceful protest called “March on Knox,” where coaches and players joined one another on a stage to give speeches concerning police brutality and racial injustice.

One of the key speakers and leaders of the march that day was Trey Smith. The offensive lineman grabbed the megaphone and gave a powerful and emotional speech about the change that needs to happen.

“The social injustice that we still face cannot stand. This can’t keep happening. Something has to change. This isn’t right. We’ve got to make a change. The only way we can make a change is together. Without understanding, nothing will change.”

The marches aren’t the only time the veteran spoke out about the issue. He also joined ESPN’s College GameDay social justice roundup. Maria Taylor was the show’s host, and six other college football players joined Smith for the 90-minute talk.

The Tennessee football program put together a Zoom meeting to open the team’s conversation on social inequality. These Zoom calls stem from a program that developed within the team as a safe environment for players to speak up about how they feel toward challenging topics like the one that is so prominent right now. The group within the team plans to develop ideas to set an example for the whole UT family that change is possible.

Pruitt spoke on how proud he is of his staff and players last Saturday at their opening game victory against the Gamecocks.

“When you look at the social injustice that runs across our country, to see the courage that players on our team, the players on other teams, it’s inspiring to me, this generation of young men and women that are really fighting the fight. It’s encouraging for the future of our country, to me. I can’t say how proud I am of our players, the other players across the country for what they’ve been going through.”

I don’t think this isn’t the last of the Vols doing more than just playing football, as well as other college football teams around the country who are standing for their beliefs.