Rutgers junior forward Ron Harper Jr. continues to bring more leadership to the Scarlet Knights and as his third season of college basketball approaches, he has begun leading in a new type of way. Harper joined Andy Katz of the Big Ten Network and NCAA.com earlier today to speak on social justice and how he is helping to usher in change.
“Social justice is definitely the first thing on our minds right now,” Harper said. “I have this shirt on right here and it says ‘we are equal.’ It’s just a fust but it embodies black power. The NBA has done a great job setting the tone for us younger guys and athletes coming up, especially NFL and college football players and NBA players. You see a lot of them kneeling for the flag, a lot of them are talking about justice for Breanna Taylor and people like that. We look to set the trend in college basketball too. I am sure the first time you see a college basketball game tipped off, there will be a tribute to those lost by police brutality in some way. And I can promise you that.”
Harper’s father, Ron, played for six NBA championship teams during his career as part of the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers. Harper also had stints with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Clippers.
In the wake of several police shootings of African Americans, Harper has leaned on his father for guidance and advice.
“My dad has been a great person to talk to in light of all this because he taught me back then when he was playing in the nineties and early 2000s, players were like scared to speak up because they felt like people had control of them and they felt like people could just get rid of them with a snap,” Harper said. “Now, with players speaking up and players realizing how powerful their messages are to people, you are just encouraging a bunch of people to hop on the bandwagon to fight for social justice and to fight for change. My dad’s been great. He is not swaying me this way or that way, he is telling me to speak what’s on your chest and what’s on your mind.”
Last season, Harper was Rutgers’ leading scorer, with an average of 12.1 points per game. For his career, Harper boasts an average of 10 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. He returns to a Rutgers team that finished 20-11 last year while posting a nation’s best home record of 18-1.
— Andy Katz (@TheAndyKatz) September 28, 2020
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