A New Jersey school board has rejected an appeal by one of the state’s top high school basketball players to wear a warmup shirt with “Black Lives Matter” written on it when the season begins Tuesday.
At a meeting last week, the Manchester Township Board of Education rejected the effort by Destiny Adams. Adams, who is Black, is considered one of the best players in the state and has committed to the University of North Carolina.
Adams’ mother told The Associated Press on Tuesday that her daughter planned to wear socks with reading “Black Lives Matter” on them for Manchester Township’s first game Tuesday afternoon.
Destiny Adams, who is a senior, spoke to the board at a meeting last Wednesday. She read a statement saying she wanted to wear the shirt to teach little girls “to stand up for what’s right and always let their voices be heard.”
“To me, Black Lives Matter doesn’t have anything to do with the police,” she added. “I have nothing against the police. It’s just that all lives cannot and will not matter until Black lives do.”
The board didn’t take a public vote on the request, but Board President Ken Pate, after praising Adams’ passion and courage, told her, “We at the Board of Education are elected to represent the whole school, and our uniforms have to be uniform.” A message was left with Pate on Tuesday.
Adams’ mother, Lisa Adams, is an attorney and her father, Dennis Adams, is the high school’s principal. Both also spoke at the board meeting.
“She does not support anti-police beliefs. She does not promote violence. She does not support vandalism or looting. She merely wants to bring awareness to others that Black lives matter and that a change is needed in this country,” Lisa Adams told the board.
A spokesman for the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association said decisions on pre-game attire are the responsibility of local school districts.
Lisa Adams said Tuesday that she doesn’t believe it’s clear whether the school can legally regulate the T-shirts players wear, but said the family didn’t plan to pursue the matter further.
“The point of the request was to bring awareness to this movement; them saying ‘No’ has actually brought so much more publicity and awareness to what she’s trying to do than if they’d said ‘Yes,’” she said. “So it actually worked in her favor.”
The school board’s decision was first reported by Patch.com.
Professional athletes have drawn attention to racial injustice protests and movements throughout their seasons in the past year, with the WNBA wearing warmups with “Black Lives Matter” written on the front and “Say Her Name,” written on the back.