Urbana’s Verdell Jones Jr. unites athletes through basketball


URBANA (WCIA) — The City of Urbana held a peaceful demonstration on Monday, as thousands marched through the streets to demand justice for George Floyd. Boys’ Basketball head coach Verdell Jones Jr. recognizes the need to for justice in the United States, supporting the fight against oppression.

“Anytime that you’re facing oppression there comes a tipping point, and we are always to pursue justice,” says Jones. “The heart of the human issue, is the issue of the human heart. Many times that plays out in a difference response.”

Jones says he’s proud to be a part of a community with displays of peaceful protest in the community, but explains why some have turned to looting and violence.

“Sometimes people feel they don’t have another outlet, and they’ll resort to those things,” says Jones. “But again I believe at the end of the day it stems from an issue of the human heart.”

As a member of the African-American community who coaches young black athletes, Jones says that sports can serve as a vehicle to unite people in today’s world. Jones uses basketball as a way to teach valuable life lessons, and hopes his athletes can set a positive example for others in community.

“We use this many a times, and we talk about it a lot of times. It’s the ability to bring cultures together, to bring ways of life together, to bring views at how you look at life,” says Jones. “We’re able to talk in terms of discussing our particular approaches in life, and also learn from each other, and I think that is important in terms of growth and development for everybody.”

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