By Ken Reed

The Southeastern Conference (SEC) is the beast of college football, which means it’s the beast of college athletics.

For decades, the SEC has wielded a ton of power in SportsWorld. The SEC has also long been a bastion of conservative, old-school ideology.

So, when SEC commissioner Greg Sankey announced that the state of Mississippi could lose all SEC championship events unless it changes the state flag, which currently includes a Confederate symbol, it becomes increasingly clear that the country as a whole might be serious about making bold, progressive changes when it comes to racism and social justice.

“It is past time for change to be made to the flag of the State of Mississippi,” said Stankey in a statement. “Our students deserve an opportunity to learn and compete in environments that are inclusive and welcoming to all.”

SEC members Mississippi and Mississippi State both support the effort.

“Mississippi needs a flag that represents the qualities about our state that unite us, not those that still divide us,” said University of Mississippi Chancellor Glenn Boyce and athletics Vice Chancellor Keith Carter in a joint statement.

That’s a good, strong statement.

But while they are at it, both Boyce and Carter should think about changing their university’s nickname: Rebels. Rebels is a term that originally described Confederates and the Rebel Yell was a battle cry used by Confederate soldiers.

I would suggest to Boyce and Carter that as long as your school is known as the Ole Miss Rebels, the University of Mississippi will remain a divisive institution, not one that unites all Mississippians — and Americans in general — by providing an inclusive and welcoming environment to all.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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