GREENSBORO — UNCG and N.C. A&T have an intense men’s rivalry on the basketball court, but both men's programs have come together off the court for a greater cause.
Players and the head coaches visited the International Civil Rights Center & Museum to shoot videos encouraging students and the community to register to vote in November’s election. The videos will be rolled out on social media and the athletics websites of both schools Monday on the eve of National Voter Registration Day, with each school releasing an additional video Tuesday.
The idea for the videos came from N.C. A&T coach Will Jones out of a lunch he had with his UNCG counterpart, Wes Miller, about a month ago.
“Instantly, I thought it was a great idea and a way to make our platform even bigger,” Miller said. “The credit goes to him for having the idea.”
Both coaches have had discussions with their players about racism and civil rights in the wake of incidents that put police brutality in the national headlines. Both programs also had to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic that prematurely ended their 2019-20 season and has pushed back the start of the coming season.
“During this period it’s important to be examples,” Jones said. “In Greensboro, with the N.C. A&T-UNCG rivalry across all the sports, this video sends a message that now is the time to be united and that there are bigger things to focus on than competing on the fields and on the courts. We’re all fighting for our lives during this pandemic, and we’re all fighting for an opportunity to be treated equally among our races.”
As important as the message is, the players had some lighter moments as a few lines were flubbed during the video shoot. But when it was time to “lock in,” as A&T players kept reminding Aggies point guard Kam Langley to do, they got the work done.
“I just thought it would be good for our guys, because they mingle so much and have so many connections, to do something together,” Jones said, noting that two of the players in today’s video shoot were his team’s Kam Langley and Kam’s younger brother Kobe, a UNCG sophomore.
“Is there a rivalry?” Miller said. “Yes, and that’s been really fun for our program and for the city of Greensboro, but the collaboration is important for the community and both of our universities. Obviously, things like this are so much bigger than any competition or game.”
Contact Joe Sirera at 336-373-7034, and follow @JoeSireraNR on Twitter.
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