UTEP basketball coach Rodney Terry speaks out on police brutality and racism

After+receiving+a+technical+foul+UTEP+Head+Coach+Rodney+Terry+removes+his+jacket+as+frustrations+rise+versus+UAB+Feb.1.

After receiving a technical foul UTEP Head Coach Rodney Terry removes his jacket as frustrations rise versus UAB Feb.1.

Michael Cuviello, Editor, in chief

UTEP head basketball coach Rodney Terry addressed local media on Wednesday about the recent protests in response to the death of George Floyd while in police custody.  

On May 30, Terry released a tweet expressing his thoughts on the tragic incident, three days before UTEP President Heather Wilson issued a statement on the matter 

Terry started the news conference talking about a conversation he had with the players about recent events. The following question stuck with him as he addressed recent events relating to death of Floyd: 

“How does it feel being black in America and what type of perception do you think they have”? Terry asked. “One of the profound answers I got from my guys on that question was that of fear. I asked, why do you feel fear. Do you mean in terms of your safety or fear of being seen as a threat?” 

“George Floyd could have been Rodney Terry, I grew up in the same type of neighborhood he grew up in, predominantly an all-black neighborhood. It could have been my nephew, it could have been my brother, it could have been one of my players. I guess I’m here today to talk about—enough is enough. With this being in the forefront right now, we must try to create some change and try to have more of an open look about racism in America.” 

Terry stressed the importance of  using your political voice and being involved, especially  by voting. He said protesting is one avenue to demand change and bring awareness to the systematic injustices and police brutality. “To make change you have to be actively involved at the local, state and national levels and exercising your voice, having uncomfortable conversations with your friends, having uncomfortable conversations when you have a platform to be able to do so.” 

Referencing the great history of UTEP basketball, Terry spoke about Don Haskins involvement in making change at the intercollegiate level when the team, then including five African American starters, won the 1966 NCAA ChampionshipUTEP’s historic championship against an all-white Kentucky team helped desegregate basketball at all levels and is a legacy Terry is proud of. 

“When you have a platform, it’s very important that you are active, involved and practice what you preach,” Terry said. “I hope that through everything that happened that we do have change.” 

“Racism is a problem in our country and has been a problem for a long period of time. We have to continue to be active we have to get out and do our part. We have to continue to educate the generation under us to do their part. That means all of us coming together in not turning a blind eye to understanding racism. We have to deal with it and hopefully, we can bring some change around.” 

 Terry said leaders at all levels must set the example and use their platforms to speak out and promote positive changes instead of avoiding difficult conversations. 

“This is very uncomfortable conversation; this is a very uncomfortable topic but you cannot be afraid to stick your neck out when you know it is for the right and you see the wrong in front of you.” Terry said. 

Michael Cuviello may be reached at [email protected]