NFL Legend Emmitt Smith Criticizes University of Florida for Eliminating DEI Positions

Emmitt Smith, a former star running back with the Florida Gators and three-time Super Bowl champion with the Dallas Cowboys, expresses disappointment in his alma mater's decision to dismiss all Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) positions and administrative appointments.


University of Florida Fires DEI Positions

Emmitt Smith, well-known for his NFL career with the Dallas Cowboys and his time as a star player for the Florida Gators, has openly criticized his alma mater for terminating all Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) positions and administrative appointments.

The university made this decision in conformity with a regulation passed by the Florida Board of Governors, which limits public funding for DEI. This regulation defines DEI as any program, activity, or policy that categorizes individuals based on race, color, sex, national origin, gender identity, or sexual orientation and promotes preferential treatment based on these classifications.

According to The Independent Florida Alligator, 13 full-time DEI positions and 15 administrative appointments were eliminated as a result of this decision.

Emmitt Smith's Disgust with the University's Decision

Emmitt Smith expressed his disappointment in the university with a lengthy statement, stating that he is 'utterly disgusted' by UF's decision and the precedent it sets.

Smith believes that without the DEI department, the Office of the Provost, which already has numerous responsibilities, will have to handle fundraising for the university and continue to promote academic studies in athletic programs. He argues that relying on a team of leaders from the same background is not conducive to making equitable and diverse decisions, as history has already proven.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who opposes DEI initiatives, wrote on X, 'Florida is where DEI goes to die.'

Calls for Diverse Perspectives in University Decision-Making

Emmitt Smith emphasizes the importance of diverse thinking and backgrounds in enhancing the university. He believes that the DEI department is necessary to achieve these goals and criticizes UF's decision for conforming to political pressures rather than showing courage and leadership.

Smith urges minority athletes at UF to be aware and vocal about the university's decision, as it may affect other minorities without oversight. He also calls out those who choose to stay silent, stating that they are complicit in supporting systemic issues.

Supporters of DEI argue that it helps address systemic inequities and accommodates increasingly diverse student populations, while opponents like Governor DeSantis view it as a form of leftist discrimination.