BOILING SPRINGS — A few weeks ago, Gardner-Webb (GWU) student-athletes and others in the community participated in a unity march and peaceful protest to bring attention to racial inequality. Now the GWU football team is finding another way to make their voices heard — from the voting booth.
That’s because 100% of the current Runnin’ Bulldogs’ football roster (115 players) have registered to vote in the upcoming 2020 election. First-year head coach Tre Lamb was behind the initiative, encouraging his team to register to vote.
“Someone fought for our right to vote and we don’t want to waste our right,” Lamb said. “Most of our team hasn’t voted and we are trying to come up with ways to grow as a team and be creative.”
Lamb adds that voting is an important weapon in the fight against racial inequality and injustice.
“We are fighting for equality every single day,” Lamb said. “That is the right thing to do. It is not white vs. black or black vs law enforcement. It is everyone vs racism and any systemic racism or injustice is worth fighting against. It is about right and wrong. Our players have been respectful and used the platform that GWU gives them. It is important that we continue to value equality for the right reasons. Not because it’s popular right now. We want real change. Not a splash in the 2020 pan.”
Players are excited about exercising their right to vote, many for the first time.
“I registered to vote to make a difference and to vote in officials who I think would fight for the disenfranchised,” Gastonia native Tremayne Booker said. “It’s important to me because I feel everyone has a responsibility to look out for one another the best that they can and that means putting the right people in power and holding them accountable. I’m passionate about social and racial justice and legislation that brings positive and legitimate change.”
Kendall Massey adds that he is a first time voter and will cast his ballot based on several issues.
“I registered to vote because of the things I am passionate about,” he said. “I wanted to make a difference and use my voice for change. Freedom of speech, dealing with injustice, helping the working class and those in poverty, and dealing with the problems in education are all things I am voting for. Whoever gets my vote will, I hope, try their best to find solutions and fixes to these issues.”
Cam McCutcheon says he is excited to have his voice heard.
“The reason I registered to vote is because I have the opportunity to do so, unlike my ancestors,” he said. “Voting is important to me because I am free to vote for whoever and represent the voices of those before me. Two issues that I’m passionate about would be racial inequality and women’s rights.”
Narii Gaither says he is voting based on his religious convictions.
“I feel that voting is an act that no one should be nervous of,” he said. “You should embrace it. Everyone is allowed their own opinion. As long as it aligns with the will of Jesus, we should be alright.”
The 2020 General Election will take place Tuesday, Nov. 3, while early voting begins Oct. 15.