Say what you will about the content of Boeheim’s remarks. He’s heroic; he’s idiotic. What can’t be denied are the guts it takes for a high-profile sports figure to step out of a comfort zone that typically focuses on the finer points of the 2-3 zone defense. It would have been much easier to soak in the adulation of his moment, honor the victims with a word and a prayer and move on, avoiding the more highly charged subject of gun control.
Instead, in this moment Boeheim followed in the footsteps of American sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos, raising their fists in defiant black power salutes on the medal stand at the 1968 Summer Olympics. Or of Muhammad Ali using his heavyweight pulpit to speak out against the Vietnam War. No, Boeheim wasn't risking being ostracized in the same fashion, but he certainly didn't play it safe to protect his popularity.