Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez is the most prominent voice in college athletics in the state. On a day when two of the state’s most prominent professional teams – the Bucks and Brewers – decided to essentially strike for racial justice, Alvarez told Yahoo Sports he stands firmly behind them.
“I do think we are [having a moment],” Alvarez said in a phone interview Wednesday evening. “I know how serious the people in this state take their sports and how proud they are of their sports teams. When you have athletes step up and make that kind of a statement. ... I’m very proud of them.”
Alvarez has been the athletic director at Wisconsin since 2004. He served as the head coach from 1990 through 2005. In that time, he emerged as one of the most familiar faces on the college sports scene in Wisconsin.
In the wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake earlier this week, the outrage has rippled through the sports world. The Detroit Lions canceled practice on Tuesday and both the Bucks and Brewers announced Wednesday afternoon that they weren’t playing. The rest of the NBA teams playing playoff games on Wednesday followed Milwaukee’s lead.
“I think they’re sending the right message,” Alvarez said. “Things have to be corrected. We can’t continue with the social injustice. People have been trying to send a message for a long time. Some just don’t get the message. Some just don’t get it.
“It sends a strong message that they are serious. What’s happened is wrong and has to be corrected. It’s unacceptable.”
With the Big Ten’s cancellation of fall sports, there’s little chance of an organized statement on campus right now. Alvarez said teams won’t be back on campus until after Labor Day.
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