Rutgers Commencement Speaker Confusion - My9 New Jersey

Rutgers Commencement Speaker Confusion

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New Brunswick, New Jersey (My9NJ) -

Yesterday, former Rutgers football player Eric LeGrand announced on Twitter that he was disappointed to learn that he would not be the commencement speaker at this year’s graduation ceremony.

His tweet read: “Rutgers offered me the commencement speech this weekend and I was going to accept but they decided to go other ways for political reasons.”

LeGrand was paralyzed in 2010 while making a head-first tackle in a game against Army at MetLife Stadium. Since the injury, LeGrand has been a force of hope for many athletes that have been injured.

Rutgers has since come forward saying that LeGrand is still invited to speak along with former New Jersey Governor Tom Kean who was selected to replace Condoleezza Rice who made the decision not to speak amid a string of protests stemming from her role as national security adviser to former President George W. Bush during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Rutgers’ President Barchi put out a statement saying: “Eric LeGrand will speak at our commencement and personally receive his degree from me, President Barchi, as a representative of the class of 2014. It was never our intention that Eric would be the only speaker. We have resolved that miscommunication and are delighted to have him participate.”

Jason Belzer is a professor at Rutgers as well as a Forbes columnist and college athlete advocate. He chimed in to discuss what this means for the school and LeGrand.

“Ya know obviously with Condoleeza Rice backing out of her commencement address last week due to pressure from a select and small group of faculty and students that were protesting her involvement as a commencement speaker, the school was left scrambling and they contacted Eric. Eric is actually set to graduate as a student this year after finishing his degree, and it’s surprising that he would go to Twitter after getting a phone call from them saying that they decided to go in another direction from a commencement standpoint and expel what he thought was some anxiety or whatever it is,” he explained.

Belzer chokes it up to poor leadership on behalf of President Barchi and Athletic Director Julie Hermann who is apparently the person who personally reached out to LeGrand about the opportunity.


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