Head coach Shaka Smart is fired up about Tuesday’s election results. He sounded off on the topic following Texas’ 78–73 win over Incarnate Word on Friday night.
“I’m concerned for our guys; I’m concerned for my daughter,” Smart said. “Now you have some real division between different sides, and I think it’s a job for all of us, particularly those of us who work with young people, to try to somehow create a coming back together.”
The second-year coach said many of his players shared his concerned about President-elect Donald Trump. He said the election was a “wake-up call” regarding the country’s progress, especially in terms of race relations.
“The mentality of the majority of those guys is that the president-elect was a slap in the face,” Smart said. “We had some guys that were really, really hurt because, to them, it was a message of ‘Hey, you’re not as significant and important as other people in this country.’”
Smart said everyone has the right to protest if they do it in the right way. However, he said he’s concerned about the reactions people have to those protests.
“The most troubling part of that was the reaction a lot of people had to those guys,” Smart said. “There was a lot of hatred. There was a lot of racism that was disguised as patriotism going after those guys. I think that was really low.”
Smart said he believes athletes and coaches should use their platform for bigger things. He said he will continue talking with his team in the aftermath of Trump’s victory, and he hopes things across the country will get better instead of worse.
“I do think in sports we have the ability to impact young people and maybe even impact the people that follow us," Smart said. “So hopefully we can bring more people together.”