Breaking Campus News. Launching Media Careers.
No black athletes have taken up NAACP Florida boycott: analysis

ANALYSIS: NAACP call to boycott Florida over DEI policies falls flat

Black athletes do not appear to have any interest in taking up the NAACP’s boycott of Florida over its Republican-led policies, according to a College Fix analysis, which identified at least 35 of the top-ranked black student athletes in basketball and football who recently signed with universities in the Sunshine State.

“To all current and prospective college student-athletes – the NAACP urges you to reconsider any potential decision to attend, and compete at a predominantly white institution in the state of Florida,” the March 11 letter had stated.

“This is not about politics. It’s about the protection of our community, the progression of our culture, and most of all, it’s about your education, and your future,” stated the letter stated, also addressed to NCAA President Charlie Baker.

The letter criticized Florida and Gov. Ron DeSantis for eliminating diversity, equity, and inclusion spending at state universities and other initiatives.

“Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has made no effort to conceal his administration’s devaluation of Black America,” the NAACP wrote. “From racist voting policies, to unraveling reproductive freedoms and attempting to rewrite Black history, DeSantis has waged war on Black America.”

“Now, as a result of his administration’s anti-Black ideals, all state-funded universities in Florida will be forced to dismantle their diversity, equity, and inclusion programs,” the NAACP wrote.

The dark picture painted by the NAACP has not swayed athletes in the past month, a College Fix analysis found.

The Fix identified 35 of the top-ranked black student athletes in basketball and football, two high profile sports, who have signed with Florida universities.

The Fix shared this list with the NAACP and asked for comment. The group has not responded to two emailed inquiries sent in the past three weeks. The Fix sent another email on April 4 to Press Secretary Alicia Mercedes and Public Relations Manager Chyna Fields, asking if anyone has decommitted. Neither responded to the email.

That number includes Jalil Bethea, who signed with the University of Miami, and is the sixth best player in the class of 2024, according to ESPN.

He’ll be joined next year by Austin Swartz, the 43rd best player. University of Florida has two of the top ten football players joining campus next year, both of whom are black.

A news search about “decommits” did not yield any proof of black athletes leaving Florida universities due to the NAACP boycott demand.

MORE: University of Florida eliminates DEI offices, employees, and contracts

The boycott could also be problematic for Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University, a historically black college. FAMU went 12-1 last season in football.

“The University has no comment,” spokesman Andrew Merritt told The Fix via email.

It is not clear where the top players should go instead — many of the top-ranked football teams, for example, are in red states with similar restrictions on DEI. These include the University of Georgia, the University of Texas, and the University of Alabama.

The NAACP also issued a “travel advisory” for Florida, warning black Americans not to go there, and if they do, to be cautious.

“Please be advised that Florida is openly hostile toward African Americans, people of color and LGBTQ+ individuals,” the NAACP stated in May 2023. “Before traveling to Florida, please understand that the State of Florida devalues and marginalizes the contributions of and the challenges faced by African Americans and other minorities.”

Russell, the chairman, appears to still live in Tampa, nearly a year after his organization issued the warning. His X profile still lists him as living in Tampa.

Fields and Mercedes, the media relations reps for the NAACP, also did not answer a question on April 4 about Russell’s residency and any plans to leave Florida.

MORE: UCLA spent $150,000 traveling to red states on California’s blacklist

Like The College Fix on Facebook / Follow us on Twitter

Please join the conversation about our stories on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, MeWe, Rumble, Gab, Minds and Gettr.

About the Author
Rachel Lalgie -- University of Florida