Knox Lifts Suspension of Athlete for Ferguson Protest

December 3, 2014

Knox College has lifted a one-game suspension it had imposed on a women's basketball player who staged a protest before a game of the recent decision by a Missouri grand jury not to make any indictments in the shooting death of Michael Brown. WQAD 8 News reported that Ariyana Smith made the "Hands up, don't shoot" gestures common in protests over the killing of Brown prior to a game against Fontbonne University -- in St. Louis County, Missouri. Then Smith got on the floor, also a common part of the protest movement, before leaving the gym. “I knew it was gonna shock people. I knew they were gonna be upset, but I couldn’t let that stop me. I could not go to the city of St. Louis and not acknowledge the sacrifice the protesters were making with their bodies," Smith told the news station. Initially, Knox issued the suspension for her leaving her team.

But on Tuesday, Knox issued a statement that said in part: "Upon review of the situation and discussion with the team, and in recognition of the larger national context, the decision was made to reverse the suspension, and the player has been invited to resume all basketball activities. The college deeply appreciates the many viewpoints expressed by the women's basketball team and their thoughtful dialogue as we sought to arrive at a resolution that considered all perspectives."

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