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Lewis County student athlete speaks out after experiencing racist incident

Updated: May. 18, 2021 at 6:19 PM EDT
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LEWIS COUNTY, W.Va (WDTV) - A student athlete out of Lewis County is speaking out after experiencing racism within the community.

Football and basketball star, Jaycob Smith, is loved by many in the community, but has now experienced a form of hate. Smith found his name spray painted with a racial slur.

“It kind of hurt me a little bit, because I’ve done a lot for the community. I’ve played (sports), lived and grew up here. You think everyone is your friend and then you turn around one day and there it is,” said Smith. “Writing hurtful stuff like that just because you’re mad or whatever the reason is isn’t okay, it’s never okay.”

However, Smith’s friends have his back in the stand against racism. Smith’s friend said, “I know people will say stuff behind his back that they won’t say to him but they’ll try to say to me and I just have to be the one to shut it down and make sure they can’t say it behind his back or to anyone else and if I hear about it I have to tell them you can’t say that and step up for him as much as I can.”

So many more people have already come together to stand up for Smith.

The painting that once was hateful is now inclusive with a message Jaycob hopes to get across. “Don’t be quiet. You have to set boundaries where they can’t cross. If you’re going to sit there and let them talk then you’re just as much of a problem as anyone else,” Smith continued.

Smith also told 5 News that he hopes this leads to the necessary, uncomfortable conversations he believes the community needs to have.

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