By Heart of Illinois ABC
NORMAL – Student-athletes at Illinois State University said in their annual meeting with Athletic Director, Larry Lyons, on Wednesday, he brought up the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement and said during the meeting, “All Redbird Lives Matter.”
Track and field athlete Jordan Wilkerson said this comment undermined the work of the black lives matter movement they have put together at ISU.
“I’m like the poster of Black Lives matter poster and actually on the Redbird uncut thing, so like for me I told the administrators and my coaches that I didn’t want to be apart of something that wasn’t real and authentic, I don’t want to be a poster child or whatever that case may be,” Wilkerson said, “I don’t want to be a black face if we’re not really for something.”
Wilkerson said he felt the coaches and other staff have been supportive of the movement, but wants to see that from the administration.
“It’s really disappointing because you come here and you expect diversity. One of our pillars at Illinois State is diversity and we get here and our administrators aren’t upholding that pillar,” said Wilkerson, “And our student athletes are doing a great job doing it. It wasn’t just some black athletes that were mad, our white athletes, our hispanic athletes, they’re upset.”
ISU track and field coach Mary Wood went to Twitter in response to Lyon’s statement and said in part, “The statement ‘All Redbird Lives Matter’ is insensitive and frankly one that attempts to drown the movement.”
Friday evening in a meeting with ISU student-athletes, athletes said Lyons apologized for his comments.
WEEK reached out to ISU for comment and they have not responded yet.
Heart of Illinois ABC can be reached at News@WJBC.com.