LSU supports student-athletes in expressing their opinions on Alton Sterling

A letter sent from the school president cautioned athletes to be aware of social media attention and asked that they not wear school attire.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced Wednesday that no charges would be filed against two Baton Rouge police officers who shot and killed Alton Sterling last July.

Sterling's death, which was captured on a cell phone video, and multiple protests in Baton Rouge and across the country followed.

Following Wednesday's news, the LSU athletic department emailed the school's 350-plus student-athletes to say they have the school's support if they wanted to express their opinions over the DOJ's decision.

The email, which was obtained by the Baton Rouge Advocate, cites both senior associate athletics director Miriam Segar and school president F. King Alexander. In their statements, Segar and Alexander say they "respect and support" the students' rights to express their opinions. But they do want the student-athletes to be aware of any negative social media response and asked them to be respectful in their opinions. The school also asked that any student-athletes not wear LSU attire if they do post something on social media.

Former LSU running back Leonard Fournette, who was the fourth overall pick in last weekend's NFL Draft, tweeted a picture of himself wearing a Sterling shirt last year.


Fournette later said he knew he has a powerful voice as an athlete and wanted use it to advance a change in Baton Rouge and around the world.

LSU officials warned student-athletes what they "say and do directly impacts how people around the world view LSU."

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"We are committed to helping students withstand societal challenges, supporting them in expressing themselves in a safe manner if they wish to participate in the public dialogue, and developing future leaders who will help avoid situations like the ones of July 2016," Alexander said in his statement.

"Remember that public comments on this topic may be their first and only impression of you."

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