Louisiana State University has asked the some 350 students athletes at the school not to wear school-related clothing if they plan on protesting the death of Alton Sterling.
The controversy over Sterling’s death, a black man shot and killed by police officers who claimed he was reaching for a gun later found in his pocket, has led to a number of demonstrations by anti-police brutality activists and Black Lives Matter. Following a Department of Justice investigation, the federal government declined to bring charges against the officers responsible for killing him.
In an e-mail, LSU senior associate athletics director Miriam Segar expressed support for the athletes’ right to protest, but also warned about the potentially volatile nature of the demonstrations.
“We know this is a subject that many of you care deeply about and we respect and support your right to speak publicly and express your opinions,” the e-mail reads. The department goes on to suggest students avoid wearing any clothing featuring the LSU logo or colors.
“If you choose to express your opinion on this issue, including on social media, we ask that you not wear LSU gear or use LSU branding.”
Segar’s e-mail also promised counseling to students and warned them that any protests will be a “very sensitive situation with heavy scrutiny from both local and national media.”
After a cellphone video of Sterling’s final moments circulated on the Internet last summer, protests sprung up in the Baton Rouge area. At the time, LSU athletes like star running back Leonard Fournette offered support.