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Penn State Football Takes ‘Day Of Rest’ To Recognize Juneteenth

Penn State football is cutting its first week of voluntary summer workouts short to celebrate Juneteenth, the team announced early Friday morning.

“Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery in America and symbolizes unity, freedom and achievements of the black community,” the team wrote on Twitter. “As a football program, we have decided to take a day of rest to celebrate and honor what is also known as Freedom Day.”

The Nittany Lions also vowed to “be part of the solution” and speak out against racial injustices across the country.

“We encourage all Americans to take time today to educate, reflect and acknowledge the significance of this moment in our history,” the team wrote. “We should also use this day to become more informed on the racial injustices our nation continues to face.”

Juneteenth, annually celebrated on June 19th, recognizes the effective (but not absolute) end of slavery in the United States. The holiday dates back to 1865, when Union army general Gordon Granger proclaimed all slaves in Texas were free by federal order. Although not a federal holiday, Juneteenth is officially recognized in 45 states and the District of Columbia.

To date, several Penn State football student-athletes and coaches have spoken out against recent acts of racial injustice across the country. CJ Thorpe delivered an emotional speech at a State College protest, James Franklin issued a statement condemning George Floyd’s death, and PJ Mustipher believes the team can “lead the conversation” against police brutality and racial injustice.

Additionally, several Penn State football representatives, including Franklin and Mustipher, will serve on the Big Ten’s new Anti-Hate and Anti-Racism Coalition.

Seventy-five football student-athletes returned to campus earlier this month to take part in voluntary workouts as part of Penn State Athletics’ phased return to campus. Soon, more players will arrive before the team begins its official preseason regimen.

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

Matt proudly served as Onward State’s managing editor for two years until graduating from Penn State in May 2022. Now, he’s off in the real world doing real things. Send him an email ([email protected]) or follow him on Twitter (@mattdisanto_) to stay in touch.

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