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Union’s Isaiah Jones says sense of hopelessness fueling riots

Senior says nation can take lessons from sports’ unifying nature

By Joshua Hart, Columbian sports reporter
Published: June 4, 2020, 5:43pm

Sports have a way of unifying. Union senior Isaiah Jones believes the rest of the world can take a lesson from it.

“In football nobody cares where you came from or what you look like, you’re all on the same team and you become a family,” Jones tweeted last weekend. “In everyday life where that unity is needed most, why doesn’t that happen?”

The Union football standout and Whitworth University running back commit hasn’t attended one of the many protests around the country in response to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week. His mom would fear for his safety if he did. So Jones has turned to Twitter to speak out against police brutality in America. He also joined the Full Circle podcast Tuesday to discuss his personal experiences as a black man growing up Clark County.

“I think it’s important because we’re the ones that have to graduate and live in this country as adults,” Jones said of why he chooses to speak up. Jones will graduate with a more than 3.5 grade-point average this June. “We have to walk through this country knowing the color of our skin will change our whole lives — the way people look at us, the way people want to employ us, the way we are accepted into the community.

“My skin color dictates a lot of things in my life.”

Floyd, a black man, died Monday, May 25, after pleading for air as a white police officer pressed a knee into his neck. Since then, protests and riots have erupted across the country.

“The riots are a reaction of being fed up,” Jones said. “People have a sense of hopelessness. What are you supposed to do if you don’t let them peacefully protest and you get mad at them for rioting? It’s just a build up of emotions.”

Racism is something Jones has faced his entire life — “The sad fact is it’s not new,” he says. Jones found solace in football. He picked up the sport in eighth grade and saw a diverse group of individuals come together to win a state championship in 2018.

“We had Polynesian people, Hawaiian people, black people, Hispanic people, white people, interracial people. It was a melting pot,” Jones said. “We didn’t care what you looked like, what you believed, what you supported. We were just fighting for the same goal.

“That can be applied to society. Everybody is different; everybody believes something different; everybody looks different. But we are all working toward the same goal, which is success, winning in life and living the American dream, which people have been deprived of because of who they are and their skin color.”

Jones urged people to support the Black Lives Matter movement and educate themselves on the strife black people in America have faced and currently deal with.

“This is not just a black issue but an American issue,” said Jones, who spoke in greater detail on the 34th episode of the Full Circle podcast.

The Full Circle podcast is published biweekly on 360preps.com and the 360Preps Soundcloud. It is also available for download on Google, Apple and Spotify podcasts.

Columbian sports reporter