Gymnastics

Tia Kiaku quit Alabama

Tia is no longer on the roster

Read her story on Instagram.

View this post on Instagram

Do we stand together? Why not use this opportunity to be transparent? I would be remiss if I didn’t take the opportunity to address a very disturbing and grave incident that occurred last year while I was on the Gymnastics team at the University of Alabama. During a practice, only the three African American girls (including myself) just happened to be on vault drills together. While practicing, one of the black gymnasts said “look all the black girls are all on the same event” responding to the statement, the Assistant Coach walked over and said “What is this, the back of the bus?”. Something that seems like a very inappropriate (racist) statement to me was just deemed as a very bad joke by Alabama! That doesn’t seem to be a joke that’s appropriate, especially in a professional team setting. I have seen a myriad of news stories of Coaches saying inappropriate/racist statements such as this who are no longer in a leadership position. Additionally, words such as “Nigga” (whether one thinks it’s funny or not), implicit biases, stereotyping, grouping terminology, and statements with underlying racism should NOT be tolerated from anyone. In fact, it should be unacceptable across the board! If #WeStandTogether, let’s truly stand together and address inappropriate issues that are happening inside programs like the University of Alabama. It is very unfair to isolate or exclude athletes because they take a stand! After much consideration, a lot of thought, lots of crying and even some tough/hard discussions with the Head Coach and some of my team mates, I decided to walk away from the team and the University. It has been hard. So what I will say is…..if the University, the Director of Athletics and Alabama’s Gymnastics program wants to take a stance on diversity and racism, they need to be transparent. These injustices are happing right in the middle of Alabama’s gymnastics team and they did very little about it. So how are we standing together? It’s so disheartening to know that there will be other black woman, like myself, to walk through Alabama’s doors and they pose the risk of going through the same things I went through!…

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Bill Lorenz is the Vault coach, by the way.

The athletic department did post this general support of the protests against racism.