Before the season, Drexel head coach Zach Spiker emphasized having tough conversations with his players about the social climate in America. The conversations with players were held individually to learn more about one another.
Most of Drexel’s players were seen kneeling during the national anthem prior to their NCAA Tournament game against Illinois to protest social injustices. It was Drexel’s first tournament appearance since 1996.
“I think we’ve got a locker room where we’re pretty open and upfront about things,” Spiker said. “I’m proud of our guys and I support our guys in how they choose to express themselves.”
Spiker hasn’t shied away from these moments. He emphasized putting action behind the conversations and made a “significant contribution” for Drexel’s new Center for Black Culture during the summer.
All but two of Drexel’s player kneeled. The coaching staff remained standing.
This was consistent with Drexel’s message all season. Drexel players kneeled for most of the 2020-21 season.
“If all of us people could take a step back and think about what our players have experienced in the last year emotionally, social injustice, the emotion of a very intense [presidential] election, and then you mix in a pandemic,” Spiker said. “That’s a lot for anybody to take in, especially a young person in the situation that our guys are in.”