Illinois reveals special helmet decal for opener vs. Wisconsin
Illinois has announced it will wear a black “Block I” helmet decal to promote social justice awareness for its season opener vs. Wisconsin on Friday night.
Our student-athletes have driven an initiative to wear a solid black Block I decal on our helmets for the season opener at Wisconsin.
The helmet is another example of our student-athletes continued advocacy for social change.
— Illinois Football (@IlliniFootball) October 22, 2020
“Having the Black I on our helmets for this first game is a symbol of unity and that this team stands for the Black Lives Matter movement,” senior linebacker Milo Eifler said in a press release.
While the black “Block I” is only for the opener vs. the Badgers, Illinois helmets will feature a black fist and one of five messages all season long: Black Lives Matter, I Fight Against Racism, Together, Equality, or United.
“We wanted to show that we are aware of what’s happening in our country right now,” senior cornerback Nate Hobbs said in a press release.
Earlier this summer, Illinois players led a peaceful protest against racial injustice on campus.
Per the release, these helmet modification ideas were brought by players to Illinois coach Lovie Smith and athletic director Josh Whitman. Both Smith and Whitman were supportive of the changes.
“To see our players come together in support of their teammates has been extremely rewarding and speaks to the culture we are trying to create in our locker room,” Smith said in the release. “Our team’s leaders did exactly what we expect them to do, which was to bring their teammates together around a common voice and message.”
Illinois’ 2020 season will start with a high-profile matchup vs. Wisconsin on Friday night in Madison. The Illini upset the Badgers in this matchup a year ago. The Big Ten Network will have the broadcast and kickoff is slated for 8 p.m. ET.