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U of I athletes lead Black Lives Matter march through Champaign


University of Illinois football player Kendrick Green (on step) and several of his teammates prepare to speak at Monday’s Black Lives Matter march. Athletes, fellow students and community members marched north on First Street in Champaign. Farrah Anderson

This audio story was recognized for excellence by the Hearst Awards in 2021, ranking 19th among all audio journalism entires nationwide.

Chants of “No justice, no peace! Prosecute the police!” rang out as the group estimated at about 500 people marched from Memorial Stadium up First Street through Campustown. 

U of I football player Kendrick Green helped organize the march. He says head coach Lovie Smith was in full support of the idea.

“He just said, ‘ok, let’s do it.’ You know, he was all for it. He’s on our side,” Green said.

After protesters knelt and held about five minutes of silence in front of Champaign Police headquarters, several people spoke, including U of I football player Nate Hobbs, who is from Louisville, where police shot and killed Breonna Taylor earlier this year.

“I see a lot of love right now,” Hobbs said. “We need to keep that going because that’s the only thing that’s going to save this country, is love.”

Athletes from the U of I football, volleyball, soccer, and men’s and women’s basketball teams all took part in the march, along with other U of I students and community members.