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Two Nets help scuttle UNC plan to keep confederate statue on campus

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Rally Protesting UNC’s Confederate Era Monument ‘Silent Sam’ Held On Campus Photo by Sara D. Davis/Getty Images

Nets Ed Davis and Theo Pinson were part of a group of more than a dozen University of North Carolina pro athletes that successfully scuttled a plan to keep a statue of a Confederate soldier on the Chapel Hill campus.

The statue, nicknamed “Silent Sam,” was toppled during a student protest last August and the university board of governors wanted to remove the statue, long condemned as a tribute to white supremacy. But a state law thwarted the plan and so as a compromise, the board of was ready to house the statue in a new $5.3 million history center on campus.

Just as the board was prepared to appropriate the money for the center, the former Tar Heels’ letter of protest was released. Davis and Pinson joined high profile stars (and former Nets) like Vince Carter and Jerry Stackhouse in the protest. Davis and Pinson were both part of NCAA championship teams, Davis in 2009, Pinson in 2017.

The letter was highly critical of the university athletic department’s failure to take a stand in the controversy and said the university had treated its athletes as “accessories.”

“We helped to tell the story that Carolina is the ‘University of the People,’” the athletes wrote in the letter, “We love UNC but now also feel a disconnect from an institution that was unwilling to listen to students and faculty who asked for Silent Sam to be permanently removed from campus. The recommendation is embarrassing to us who proudly promote UNC.”

Shortly after the letter was published in Spectacular Magazine, the university board said it would not support the plan.