Star basketball player's request for BLM warmup shirts denied by school board

MANCHESTER TOWNSHIP, New Jersey (WABC) -- A high school basketball player in New Jersey says she has new motivation after her request to allow Black Lives Matter warmup shirts was denied by the school board.

Destiny Adams, 17, is one of the most highly recruited girls basketball players in the country.

She has been playing since 2nd grade. Her skills 10 years later earned her a scholarship to the University of North Carolina, but she's also a leader off the court.

Adams said the death of George Floyd hurt her and made her realize she needed to educate herself on the BLM movement.

That is what inspired her to ask permission to put Black Lives Matter on the sleeve of her official high school basketball team's shooting shirt.

But there was some pushback.

"A lot of people seemed to be in favor of it but it turns out one or two teammates weren't," Adams said.

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The superintendent said the administration, coaches, the team and Adams tossed around other ideas like using the words "unity" or "equality" instead. With no agreement, the confident, yet soft-spoken Adams took her request to the school board.

"This movement means so much to me personally as a Black woman in America," Adams said.

She made her request to the Manchester Board of Education last week but she believes the board members made up their minds before she even spoke.

The board rejected her request and told her it took courage, "But this is a school function, it represents the whole school when you come on the court, you represent the whole school and we feel you need to have the school's name and student's name only."

Adams will be playing college basketball at UNC, but she is already getting the attention of some professional teams.

She received a supportive text message Brooklyn Nets.

The New York Liberty tweeted Monday, saying "The Liberty stand with Destiny Adams. We admire her courage to speak and bring awareness to the inequalities and inequities of the Black community."

The Manchester Township School District said there has been an ongoing discussion at the building level with Adams, her parents, the coaches and the athletic director.

"Several options were considered and voted on by the team members including Unity, Equality and BLM," Superintendent David Trethaway said. "Most agreed on Unity and/or Equality, but there were a variety of opinions. This was discussed with the parents and the player and there was no agreement to any alternative. The Board position was that the shooting shirt which has the design of Manchester Township Basketball on it should be uniform and represent the entire district. It should be uniform. Therefore there would be nothing added to the uniform except the player's name. Students' individual rights are always respected and clothing with any of these beliefs can be worn by any student when not representing the school district."

Adams said that her activism will continue during her upcoming college career. She is already planning to start a diversity club.

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