An Open Letter from Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren

Big 10

On Monday, May 25, 2020, George Floyd, a proud Black man, was killed by a member of law
enforcement in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Philando Castile,
Emmett Till. The list goes on and on.

Prior to joining the Big Ten Conference as Commissioner and relocating to Chicago, my family
had lived full-time in the Minneapolis area for over 15 years as I worked as an executive with the
Minnesota Vikings in the National Football League. Our kids were raised in Minnesota and
attended school in Minnesota before leaving for college and the people of the great state of
Minnesota are part of the fabric of our entire family.

As a Black man, I pray every day for the health and safety of my wife and children, especially
during interactions with law enforcement. We continue to see inequality and deep divide
regarding how members of the Black community are treated compared to the rest of society and
too often, the results have been horrific and senseless. Such racism and inequality are pervasive,
not just endemic in law enforcement.

Meaningful change will only occur if, as a nation, we are united, resilient and determined to
create difficult, uncomfortable dialogue and take significant tangible action. We all need to
strive to make the world a better place. One person, one family, one city, one state, one
conference, one country.

George Floyd’s death cannot be in vain.

I have made the decision to create the Big Ten Conference Anti-Hate and Anti-Racism Coalition
and invite student-athletes, coaches, athletic directors, chancellors, presidents and others to join
me. I have already received powerful notes of support and interest in joining this coalition and
look forward to partnering with the existing diversity councils on our various campuses. It is
critical that our student-athletes possess their rights to free speech, their rights to peaceful
protest and we will work to empower them in creating meaningful change.

We must listen to our young people. Our children and future generations deserve better. We
are either part of the problem or part of the solution. The Big Ten Conference will be part of the
solution as we actively and constructively combat racism and hate in our country.

In closing, my wife, Greta, and I have decided to personally make an initial gift of $100,000 from
the Warren Family Foundation to the National Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights based in
Washington, D.C., which focuses on addressing issues regarding racism, hate and voter

I will continue to pray, lead and take action to eliminate racism and hate in our country.


Kevin Warren

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