The struggle of growing up a Black athlete in America

NOW: The struggle of growing up a Black athlete in America


ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. –– Black student athletes face certain issues that their white counterparts may never encounter. It's not merely an athlete or two, but rather countless across the country. 

Akyah Taylor, a former Michigan State basketball player, said people notice when Black people walk into a room, and it is not always a good thing.

“Our presence is known, it’s felt, but it’s not always felt in a good demeanor, a good approach. So we always had to represent our community, our family and our friends. It wasn’t just us and about us, because people are just waiting for you to mess up," Taylor said. 

The experience is not much different for young Black student athletes. 

“It’s pretty hard a little bit, because you got people hating on you and you don’t know what for,” Mishawaka senior football player Davonn Parker said. 

The protests that have swept the nation over the last month have led to ideas for change to bring racial equality.

Travon Curry, an Elkhart High School football coach, said he believes Black parents can help the cause by being extra cautious.

“I've had some real conversations with some players and [said] like '[that coach] don't care about ya that much, he might care about ya right now, but he don't care about ya, and some of the kids need that realness. So I try and guide them and help them prepare for certain situations that they might get in and be honest with them," Curry said.

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