Tuesday was Blackout Tuesday on social media platforms, with University of Alabama athletics leadership and official team Twitter accounts posting blank black pictures in solidarity with the black community. UA players across all sports did the same, but Tuesday was far from the beginning for them: UA’s athletes have let their voices be heard throughout the protests taking place around the nation.

Offensive lineman Chris Owens — who changed his Twitter avatar to a closed black fist, the Black Power insignia — declared on Twitter on Saturday, “Change is coming from this generation whether you like it or not. Enough is enough.”

As several Power 5 coaches, administrators and in some cases full conferences made statements on the matter, freshman defensive lineman Byron Young tweeted he was, “waiting for someone from The University of Alabama to make a statement.” Those statements were in the works, and released a couple of hours after Young’s tweet.

Punter Ty Perine tweeted a Benjamin Franklin quote: “Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.”

Wide receiver Tyrell Shavers was blunt in a Sunday tweet.

“MLK’s dream is turning into a nightmare,” he said, referencing Martin Luther King Jr.

The replies to their messages were as expected: some supporting their cause, some raising counterpoints, some doing so with vile. Sophomore safety Jordan Battle had a poignant response to that.

“Just like everybody tells us to be great on and off the field, support us on and off the field #BlackLivesMatter.”

UA’s athletes begin returning to campus on Monday, with the football players leading a phased return to campus, followed by the men’s and women’s basketball players.

Reach Brett Hudson at 205-722-0196 or bhudson@tuscaloosanews.com or via Twitter, @Brett_Hudson

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