MADISON, Wis. - Nigel Hayes, a senior forward for the Wisconsin Badgers basketball team, tells graduating seniors not to stay in their lane in an unofficial commencement speech he wrote.
Hayes wrote “Don’t Just Shut Up and Play” for The Players’ Tribune, on an athlete-driven website.
“You’ll have to forgive me — I don’t know all the rules when it comes to writing a commencement address. I’ve been told that it’s standard procedure to start out with a famous quote. Or a cliché about what college really means. Or maybe an allegory that involves an animal,” Hayes wrote. “Small problem: This isn’t an official commencement speech. (Lucky for all involved, to be honest.) And anyway, I’ve never really liked standard procedures.”
Hayes goes on to tell the graduating class to never accept it when someone says “Just shut up and play, or whatever the equivalent is in your field.”
“Let’s use all possible Lanes. Let’s create new lanes. Each of us is more than just the job we do for a few hours a day,” Hayes said. “Thank you Wisconsin, for helping me learn that.”'
Speaking to News 3 on the phone from Chicago at the NBA Draft Combine Hayes said UW-Madison help shape him, but says he like to think helped UW-Madison be better too. Most notably after a fan showed up to a Badger Football game wearing a noose. Hayes alone with other black athletes criticized the school's handling of the situation.
"Thanks to that incident we came up with a letter and things we wanted changed and the changes have been implemented or will be soon," Hayes said.
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