Morant was the No. 2 pick in the NBA draft last year after spending two seasons at Murray State, where he became the first player in NCAA history to average 20 points and 10 assists in a season.
“As a young Black man, I cannot stress enough how disturbing and oppressive it is to know the city still honors a Confederate war general defending white supremacy and hatred,” the letter read. “Given recent events and the Black Lives Matter movement, it’s necessary to act now. We can’t change the culture of racism unless we change the celebration of racism.”
Morant’s letter comes amid protests following the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died May 25 while in custody of Minneapolis police, and demonstrations in cities where some monuments have come down over the past week.
In Richmond on Wednesday, protesters toppled a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis that had stood in the former capital of the Confederacy since 1907. That same day, protesters in Portsmouth, Va., covered a Confederate monument in garbage bags several hours after city officials met to figure out ways to relocate it. A white sheet with “BLM,” the acronym for “Black Lives Matter,” covered the fence in front of the monument.
Statues in the likeness of Christopher Columbus came down in St. Paul, Minn., and Richmond this week, and on Wednesday the head was knocked off a statue of the Italian explorer in Boston.
At Murray State, 41 professors and football assistant coach Sherman Neal II sent letters calling for the removal of the Lee statue, which sits outside the Calloway County courthouse.
“Please help us take a stand and remove this symbol of hatred and oppression,” Morant wrote.