Cal Poly Women’s Basketball players Kirsty Brown, Maddie Vick and Maddie Willett created the Instagram page “The Players Protest” to raise financial support for Black Lives Matter (BLM) organizations.
As collegiate athletes, Brown, Vick and Willett said they hope to use their platform to garner support from the sports community for this cause.
WNBA players, football players and basketball players have reposted their Instagram posts, Brown said.
“The sports community across the nation is very well-connected,” Brown said.
They also encourage non-athletes to support the cause and participate in this movement. Donations can be made via a Go Fund Me page linked in their bio, all of which will be donated to various BLM organizations.
“I think it’s important that people know that anyone can participate,” Vick said. “You don’t even have to participate in the events if you want to just donate to our organization [or] more importantly, Black Lives Matter charities.”
According to Willet, they decided to wait until the start of August to announce which organizations they were going to donate to.
“We’re [waited] to decide where to donate because within a week a specific organization could not need that money anymore and so we’re really wanting to give to the charities that are in need of funding at this specific time,” Willett said. “We [were] looking into organizations which target policy reform, police reform, youth-oriented community organizations and also protestor bail funds.”
The first week of August, The Player’s Protest announced via Instagram the organizations they had selected which include the Anti-Racism Fund, Communities United Against Police Brutality, Gyrl Wonder and National Bail Out.
The Player’s Protest hopes to acquire donations through basketball-related virtual events and social media challenges, according to their Go Fund Me page.
Their first event, “Free Throws for Freedom” took place Wednesday, August 5.
The virtual event challenged followers to attempt 100 free throws to raise donations from family and friends who have pledged either a specific donation per free throw or a flat donation on the participant’s behalf.
“This is a very common basketball fundraiser, a shoot-a-thon for free throws,” Vick said. “It’s something that really anyone can do, as long as you have a hoop and ball so we figured countrywide, any athlete or anyone really can participate in it and so it’s up to [the participants] to get the money and then up to us to distribute it.”
Participants were also encouraged to post a picture or video of themselves participating in the event and tag The Player’s Protest on Instagram.
The Instagram page has already garnered more than 300 followers and their Go Fund Me page has acquired over $5000 in donations, according to Willett.
All three women have attended multiple protests supporting the BLM movement which inspired them to create The Player’s Protest, Vick said.
“Listening to the black leaders and people of color telling us that they need help and for people to step up, we decided that this is a great way to do it,” Vick said. “Uniting people through sports and basketball across the country to stop the bad things that are happening in our world and get justice for all.”