With Monday’s news that the Texas Longhorns will keep “The Eyes of Texas” as the school’s alma mater despite a June request from Black athletes to replace it, players and fans will have to make their own decisions about whether to participate in the post-game tradition.
Junior safety Caden Sterns will not.
I will not sing the song— Caden Sterns (@CSterns_7) July 13, 2020
It wasn’t immediately clear how many other athletes will join Sterns in declining to sing the school’s alma mater, but the willingness of Cantu to follow the leadership of Sterns suggests that at least a part of the fan base is amenable to taking its cues on the song from Black athletes.
Beyond declining the sing The Eyes of Texas, Sterns wants to share the song’s history to better inform the discussion surrounding the school’s alma mater.
I‘ll take my cues from our black athletes & leaders- I won’t do anything that continues to promote an unwelcomed feeling in Black Longhorns. With that said - will you sing “The Eyes” after games? I know it’s early/you don’t speak for everyone, but will any players not sing?— David Cantu (@d_cantu) July 13, 2020
For its part, the school also promised to continue those important conversations about the song’s history.
“The Eyes of Texas, in its current form, will continue to be our alma mater,” interim Texas president Jay Hartzell wrote on Monday. “Aspects of its origin, whether previously widely known or unknown, have created a rift in how the song is understood and celebrated, and that must be fixed. It is my belief that we can effectively reclaim and redefine what this song stands for by first owning and acknowledging its history in a way that is open and transparent.
“Together, we have the power to define what the Eyes of Texas expect of us, what they demand of us, and what standard they hold us to now. The Eyes of Texas should not only unite us, but hold all of us accountable to our institution’s core values. But we first must own the history. Only then can we reimagine its future, and I look forward to partnering with our campus community to do just that.”