Blue and Gold Illustrated

August 2020

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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6 AUGUST 2020 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY ANDREW MENTOCK O n June 19, fifth-year senior de- fensive end Daelin Hayes and head coach Brian Kelly led a pro- cession of the Notre Dame football team and 1,400 community members in a peaceful walk around campus. Almost everyone in attendance wore black T-shirts that absorbed the sun and face masks that, by the end of the walk, were covered in sweat from the 90-degree heat. The walk began at the Irish Green, behind the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center, after those in attendance listened to impassioned speeches and prayers from Kelly and players such as Hayes, Max Siegel and Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa on a temporary stage. From there, Kelly and Hayes ushered the crowd around Notre Dame Stadium and then north past the bronze statue of Moose Krause casually sitting on his bench. As they approached Gate A, desig- nated for former Fighting Irish head coach Dan Devine, Kelly took a cue from Hayes and raised his fist in soli- darity with the Black Lives Matter movement and posed. Several photographers and other members of the media rushed to the front to take advantage of such an ideal photo opportunity. Others came as the crowd approached The Word of Life Mural (also known as Touchdown Jesus) or when Kelly and the entire team took a knee in the Main Circle on Notre Dame Avenue, with the Golden Dome shining in the background. Throughout much of the two-mile walk, those near Kelly and Hayes could hear whispers of their conver- sation — discussions exemplifying that their time spent walking in uni- son was for much more than a photo opportunity. The two talked about how Notre Dame football could con- tinue to fight racial inequality and impact real change, bouncing ideas off one another as photographers ran backward in front of them snapping pictures. This represented the respect Kelly has shown for his players. Even as the face of Notre Dame football for the past decade, he had the good sense to give up some control and listen to Hayes and other minority voices on the team at a time of na- tionwide civil unrest. "I'm very proud to be here today," Kelly said in his speech at the start of the walk. "I took my leap into this cause when I witnessed the unspeak- able violence that I saw, like many of you, and made a commitment that standing on the sidelines was no lon- ger an option. "But I, too, like many of you have had to learn. Learning comes from listening, and the first group of peo- ple that I listened to were the many black leaders that we have in our community here at Notre Dame, and in particular on our football team. We started by giving them a platform to let them speak." Hayes was the first Notre Dame football player to utilize this platform when he explained the fear he felt watching a video of George Floyd murdered by the knee of a Minne- apolis police officer. His words ap- peared in a graphic on his Instagram and Twitter accounts on June 1 and were shared by Notre Dame. Soon after, other players followed suit and used the opportunity to amplify their voices in a positive manner. There was a letter from wide re- ceiver Braden Lenzy, a poem from safety Litchfield Ajavon. Houston Griffith, Ja'Mion Franklin, Avery Da- vis and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah also shared their own statements on social media. The messages were presented on more than just social media. They UNDER THE DOME STANDING TOGETHER Notre Dame football leads the community in peaceful demonstration for equality and unity The Notre Dame football team led a procession that included 1,400 community members in a time of prayer and a peaceful walk around campus. The point of the event was to create an open dialogue about how to continue to fight racial inequality and impact real change. PHOTO BY ANDREW MENTOCK

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