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'I want my reparations right now': Emmitt Smith backs DEI once again, demands payment from University of Florida
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'I want my reparations right now': Emmitt Smith backs DEI once again, demands payment from University of Florida

Smith said DEI programs have been removed out of 'spite' and 'sheer power.'

Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith again criticized the removal of diversity, equity, and inclusion programs from universities, claiming the programs are being removed out of spite.

The running back added to comments he made in March 2024, calling out the University of Florida specifically for removing DEI programs. Having played at the university himself, Smith took issue with the lack of payment he got in a time before NIL payments have made so many college athletes into high-income earners.

"Bro, I want my reparations right now from the University of Florida," Smith told USA Today. "I want to send their [expletive] a bill. I want interest on mine. Because I know one thing: When I was in that stadium – and I hate to talk about myself, but the system has forced me to talk about it because we couldn't get NIL [payments] – running up and down that field with Cedric Smith leading the way with my great offensive linemen blocking for me, when you looked up in those stands you saw a whole lot of E. Smith jerseys up there. E. Smith 22s. You can look at the old videos and see how many jerseys were walking around. And I didn’t receive one red cent," he recalled.

BlazeTV commentator Jason Whitlock said that Smith and the university engaged in a fair exchange.

"Emmitt is infected with the disease of entitlement," the "Fearless" host stated. "The University of Florida helped him on his journey, and he helped the University of Florida."

"It was a fair exchange. Emmitt is out over his skis and just saying what is popular at the moment," Whitlock added.

'They only want you to do one thing for them ... help them raise capital so they can continue to build monuments around there of people that don’t look like you or I.'

Smith said he believed that DEI was a "consequence of NIL" and lamented about how DEI programs are needed to ensure black or Latino students get into certain schools.

"How can we help our other African American and Latino students around the country get into this great university? To me, taking that DEI component away says you get to make all the decisions you want and not include people who can also have a significant impact on the university."

The former Dallas Cowboy would also like to see DEI apply to the corporate world. He expressed that construction companies should be given the opportunity to work on projects based on the race of their ownership.

"There's a lot of talk, a lot of rhetoric, and I've seen how some of this stuff works ... I've seen where you have infrastructure projects around the [Dallas-Fort Worth] area, and the same four major companies are the lead construction folks on those sites. The limitations that minority companies have is not only working capital but also the capacity to get on those jobs."

The Super Bowl champion said that DEI was being destroyed simply for the "sake of politics" and out of "spite and sheer power."

He added that DEI programs were likely never going to be something that was kept and invoked the death of George Floyd as a marker for when DEI programs started popping up.

“In other words, they said, 'This is for the moment.' And again, that just goes to show you that they really didn't mean it. It's not in their heart to do what's right. It's in their heart to keep the system going the way it is. So, anyone making that decision, they were never for it, never for equality. And some of them weren't doing it before George Floyd. So, what makes you think they are going to do it now? They're trying to get rid of something that was a pipeline to opening up the opportunities, even for small and minority businesses."

The football star rounded out his comments with remarks about needing representation of certain skin colors in order to feel welcomed.

"They really don't have their best interest at heart. They only want you to do one thing for them, and that is to generate excitement and enthusiasm all around sports and entertainment, to help them raise capital so they can continue to build monuments around there of people that don’t look like you or I."

He said the biggest question for the University of Florida that is not being addressed was, "How can we get minority enrollment up?"

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Andrew Chapados

Andrew Chapados

Andrew Chapados is a writer focusing on sports, culture, entertainment, gaming, and U.S. politics. The podcaster and former radio-broadcaster also served in the Canadian Armed Forces, which he confirms actually does exist.
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