Former NFL Running Back Slams Florida Decision

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( – The former University of Florida Gator and NFL legend Emmitt Smith has slammed Florida for choosing to put an end to funding for public universities’ diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs.

On Monday, May 20, an interview was published on USA Today in which Smith argued that putting an end to DEI because of politics was not “common sense” and that leadership was only doing this “sheer out of spite” and “power.” In March, Smith spoke up in support of DEI programs after his university was forced to put an end to its programs in order to abide by state law. 

Smith argued at the time that Florida was conforming to political pressure. In his recent USA Today interview, the former running back said he spoke out on the issue for multiple reasons. He said that for instance, he is an alumnus who has contributed a lot to the university’s football team and received a degree from the school. He added that he was disappointed to see this happen to his university especially because they always talked about needing to become leaders. 

He continued by arguing that it was not accidental that DEI programs were being removed while name, image, and likeness (NIL) deals were starting to appear in the college athletic world. He added that this is “strategic,” as DEI is a consequence of NIL and one takes the other away.

In addition, the former running back called for students to examine whether they should participate in the athletics at schools that have removed their DEI programs.

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