In the history of America, black athletes protesting and raising awareness of social injustice run deeps. From Ali to Colin Kaepernick, sports athletes have always been at the forefront of social change in the country. Amid the tragedy of the George Floyd and Breonna Taylor deaths, two former UofL football players took to the streets of Louisville, Ky to show their commitment to their Community. Louisville, KY natives Jamon Brown and Reggie Bonnafon of Total 360 Management protested and helped with clean up efforts after thousands of citizens demand answers after the death of Breonna Taylor from LMPD. Jamon Brown plays for the Atlanta Falcons and Reggie Bonnafon.
“Having seeing protest everyday and these people down here on the front line made me check myself.” Jamon Brown said. “I play offensive line, I’m on the front line, that’s what I do. So seating at my house and not being on the front line, it bothered me. Especially for a city that I love so much.”
“It just broke my heart, and I just wanted to do something about it. This is my first act and I’m going to continue relentlessly until something changes. We need to start at home first.” Reggie Bonnafon said. “With everything that’s going on at home with Breonna Taylor and what recently happened at 26th and broadway. We have people that are not necessarily speaking out on it and people want more support and we’re willing to do that with the platforms that we have.”
Taking a knee during the national anthem doesn’t seem so unprecedented in hindsight. In modern times athletes have stepped up to be pillars of their community. Athletes speak truth to power on behalf of citizens who don’t have a platform.
Jamon Brown attended Fern Creek High School while Reggie Bonnafon attended Trinity High School. Both have been active in Louisville even before the protest. Brown has started the Jamon Brown Foundation that empowers youth to lead the way in making the city a better place. He recently began COVID- 19 fundraising to help Louisville and fight the virus. Bonnafon has shown his unselfish compassion by speaking to students of Shawnee Academy and the University of Louisville about the importance of education and community impact. Both players hold annual free football camps every summer. The work of Brown and Bonnafon don’t unnoticed by the citizens of Louisville. Athletes are a crucial component for change.