CHARLOTTE — Student-athletes at Johnson C. Smith University took to the field Friday afternoon with empty stands, grieving over the three University of Virginia football players shot and killed Sunday night on the team’s bus.
“(I) immediately just felt sorrow, a great, heavy burden on me,” said Lacasha State Lawson, a JCSU softball player.
Lawson’s anxiety has been felt by others.
“This one actually really hit home,” said Evan Carter, a JCSU basketball player. “They are student-athletes just like me. They are young Black men.”
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Police said the shooter was also a Black student and former football player.
Volleyball and softball coach Mark Raley said one of his players said something chilling.
“She said, ‘Coach, I’m scared for my generation,’” Raley said.
Raley, a minister and organizer with Mothers of Murdered Offspring, organized a day on the field for student-athletes.
He understands that memorials can help make a change.
“We can prevent things like this,” he said.
The players prayed and gave each other hugs for support.
They lit a candle for each of the UVA students killed including, Devin Chandler who played football at Hough High School, and released balloons into the air.
A school counselor was at the event and talked about getting mental health support to handle stress, while others talked about dealing with anger without using guns.
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