BY DENNIS SILVA II | DENSILVA2@GMAIL.COM
Due to social injustice, particularly in light of recent events, Katy High junior cornerback Bobby Taylor announced Friday morning on a social media post that he will sit out the Tigers’ scrimmage against Klein Collins on Sept. 17 and their season opener at Clear Springs on Sept. 25.
Taylor added that teammate and four-star senior cornerback Hunter Washington will join him in sitting out as well.
Taylor, a four-star recruit who holds 27 offers, including LSU, Texas, Alabama, Oklahoma and Baylor, among others, said in a tweet “In America, people of skin color, like myself have been the face of social injustice for hundreds of years and it will continue if we don’t do something about it.” The tweet closed with the hashtag “Justice4JacobBlake.”
“The tipping point was Jacob Blake (a 29-year-old Black man) being shot in his back seven times and now he’s in the hospital, handcuffed to his bed and paralyzed,” Taylor said in a phone interview Friday afternoon. “Then a 17-year-old (Kyle Rittenhouse, a white man) walks down the street with an assault rifle, kills two people and walks past the police and gets to go to his bed and sleep peacefully. That was the breaking point for me and my family. I made the decision, talked to my coach to make sure we were on the same page and saw eye to eye, and put it on Twitter.”
Blake was shot while police were attempting to detain him. Rittenhouse shot two people participating in a street protest of Blake’s shooting and was eventually taken into custody. Both events took place in Kenosha, Wisconsin, earlier this week.
The shooting of Blake has been followed by riots and professional sports leagues such as the NBA and Major League Baseball, among others, not playing games in protest.
Taylor and Washington are believed to be the first high school players in Texas to protest social injustice in such a manner.
“I just want people to open their eyes and see what’s going on in the world,” Taylor said “Hopefully something like this can open people’s eyes in my community and see that people of color are not being treated fairly. I know there’s good people in the world and not everybody is racist, but something like this could spark something. I have to do my part.”
Taylor said he spoke with his parents on Thursday evening and made his decision Friday morning after he and Washington talked to Katy High coach Gary Joseph.
“We had a brief conversation with Coach Joseph and told him what our parents said,” Taylor said. “He asked us if that was what we were going to do, we said yes sir, and he said OK. He respected our decision. He didn’t say much about it. He stands behind us, so that’s good.”
Joseph said he had no comment when reached later in the afternoon.
Taylor relayed a story of when he was at the store last week with his little sister getting school supplies.
“She was trying to get a binder, and this (white) lady comes up and says, ‘Excuse me, you people. …’” Taylor said. “I didn’t hear it because I wasn’t standing beside her at the time, but my sister came home and she told my mom about it. I was mad because I could’ve said something.”
Taylor said he hopes other high school players see what’s happening in the world and that they realize their worth to their community and their respective teams.
He’s also prepared to sit out more games, or even the entire season, if it comes to that.
“This is my platform,” Taylor said. “If I have to sit out more games, if I have to sit out the whole season, I’m willing to do that, just to make a statement and let people know this is serious. I want people to know this isn’t a joke. People losing their lives every day … I’ve experienced it first-hand. This is an issue that happens on a daily basis and we’ve got to change.
“It’s crazy to know that people will support me when I put my Katy jersey on, but when I’m in a store, they act like that. It’s crazy to me.”