Michigan football's Hunter Reynolds, EMU's Tariq Speights schedule BLM protest Sunday

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

The Detroit Lions canceled practice earlier this week and NBA players have boycotted the playoffs as a show of unity in their support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Now, football players from Michigan and Eastern Michigan have organized a Black Lives Matter (BLM) peaceful protest for Sunday in Ann Arbor in response to the shooting of Jacob Blake.

Hunter Reynolds

Michigan defensive back Hunter Reynolds, a founder of College Athlete Unity, and EMU linebacker Tariq Speights, are rallying student-athletes from their schools and anyone who wishes to participate to “peacefully protest the racial injustices that African Americans in our country continue to face daily.” The protest begins Sunday at noon on University Avenue in downtown Ann Arbor.

“Change is needed in America,” Reynolds told The Detroit News on Thursday. “It is unacceptable that Black Americans continue to be disproportionately affected by police brutality. As college athletes, we have been given a platform and it is imperative that we speak out against injustice.”

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh and several members of his staff as well as players took part in a peaceful protest June 2 in Ann Arbor after the shooting death of George Floyd that sparked protests across the country and globe.

The Michigan-EMU protest encourages participants to be “respectful to all” and will not tolerate “vandalism”. Reynolds said anyone taking part should wear masks and either black or school colors. Social distancing will be encouraged.

Reynolds’ Michigan teammates, Ben Mason and Aidan Hutchinson, met with reporters on Thursday and were asked about the BLM movement and to share their thoughts on social injustice. They said they are united with their black teammates.

“It’s hard for me, because I’m not Black. I haven’t lived in America as a Black guy,” Mason said. “Just listening to all my teammates, what their experiences have been like, something in America needs to change. If I had the answer, I would say, but I don’t necessarily know how we’re going to promote this change, but at the end of the day we need to unite and come together and basically all love each other.”

Hutchinson said he stands with his teammates.

“Those guys are my brothers,” he said. “I feel for them. Whatever they feel, I feel for them. We are united through all this.”