The statue of Olympian Tommy Smith has been vandalized. The gold medal that is part of the statue, located on the campus of San Jose State University, was apparently removed from the statue on April 10.
Pat Lopes Harris, a university spokeswoman, said that the gold medal imitation on the statue was found missing April 10. The painted mosaic medal was displayed around the larger-than-life-size statue in the center of the SJSU’s campus.
“We believe somebody tried to remove it, and we’re not sure why this was done,” Harris said. “We’re very concerned. It’s a very disheartening situation,” the Tribune reports. “It’s either a vandalism or someone mistakenly believing it was something that can be recycled,” Mercury News reports.
Smith is well-known for his emblematic black-gloved fist salute during the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City.
After winning a gold medal in the 200-meter sprint, Smith pointed his right fist toward the sky in show of support of the Civil Rights Movement in the U.S., and the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa.
Several weeks ago, we reported that a black freshman, Donald Williams, had decided to file a lawsuit against the school after he claimed that they failed to address the racial bullying he endured in a timely manner.
Are Williams’ experience and the missing medal indicative of a campus issue connected to race and racism?
Thoughts on why someone would have taken the medal?
Sound off below!