The Washington Post Sunday

Williams is no fan of ‘divisive’ UNC statue

- EARLY LEAD BY JACOB BOGAGE jacob.bogage@washpost.com

North Carolina basketball Coach Roy Williams said Friday that the school should not re-erect the “Silent Sam” statue on campus, calling the Confederat­e monument “divisive.”

“In my own personal belief, I think that it would be best for it to not be here,” Williams said, according to the Raleigh News & Observer. “And I think some of those people in the decision-making business would rather it not be here, but the only people that can change that are the ones who can make the laws, and I haven’t spoken to those people about it.”

After years of protests focused on the monument, raised in 1913 to honor students who fought for the Confederac­y, demonstrat­ors tore it down in August, shortly before the start of the academic year. Its pedestal has remained empty, and the university’s board of trustees approved a plan this month to house the statue in a new $5.3 million history center.

This week, a group of more than 200 current and former Tar Heels student-athletes — including basketball greats Vince Carter, Jerry Stackhouse and Harrison Barnes and current players K.J. Smith, Garrison Brooks, Brandon Robinson and Sterling Manley — sent a letter to university leaders urging them not to display the statue.

“A monument to those who fought and killed to keep Black people enslaved has no place on our campus,” the letter read. “White supremacy has no place on our campus.”

Per the News & Observer, Williams said he told players they had a right to sign on to the letter.

“I talked to our guys about it and told them if they feel strongly about it, go right ahead,” said Williams, who is also a UNC alum.

The university system’s board of governors rejected the proposal Friday.

“It’s a very divisive thing, and I hate that we have anything divisive on our campus or involved in our institutio­n,” Williams said, according to the News & Observer. Excerpted from washington­post.com/earlylead

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