Two sophomore defensive backs on the Liberty University football team announced Monday they are entering the transfer portal and leaving the Flames program because of “racial insensitivity” and cultural incompetence “in the leadership of the university.”

Tayvion Land and Kei’Trel Clark released statements Monday morning on Twitter explaining their decisions.

Their decision to transfer comes less than two weeks after former women’s basketball player Asia Todd became the first student-athlete to publicly announce a departure from the university following LU President Jerry Falwell Jr.’s decision to invoke Gov. Ralph Northam’s blackface scandal while attacking the state’s mask requirements in late May.

The incident, which helped spark protests across the city and prompted at least four Black employees to resign from the Christian institution, has trickled down into the athletic department. Falwell issued a lengthy apology earlier this month after he faced an avalanche of criticism following his decision to post a tweet aimed at undermining an order by Northam that masks be worn inside all retail stores, government buildings or while using public transportation to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Attached to the tweet was an image of a mask bearing a racist photo that appeared on Northam’s medical yearbook page and—when made public last year—sparked a scandal that nearly forced him from office. The photo showed a person in blackface and another in a Ku Klux Klan costume

At least four Black employees have resigned from the school in protest of the tweet, according to public posts and conversations with workers. Nearly three dozen Black alumni penned a letter demanding Falwell immediately withdraw the tweet, calling it racist. The group denounced Falwell for what they said was “infantile behavior” and suggested he step down to focus on a career in politics.

Damien Sordelett covers Liberty University athletics and local golf for The News & Advance. Reach him at (434) 385-5550.

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