By Mark Smith
Editor in Chief
The University of New Mexico athletic department might hope to avoid politics in this fiery and controversial year of social unrest, riots, COVID-19 and the most heated presidential election of our lifetime.
On Tuesday, former Lobo football great and NFL Hall of Famer Brian Urlacher made a controversial Instagram post about NBA players boycotting their playoffs to protest the shooting of Jacob Blake.
Urlacher was torched by many on social media — and supported by many others — with at least two former Lobo football players firing shots at the former Chicago Bears superstar via Twitter.
The shooting of Blake, a Black man who resisted arrest and was shot seven times in front of his three children, sparked riots and killings in Kenosha.
See this link to Urlacher’s Instagram and the response from Outkick.com.
Former Lobo quarterback Lamar Jordan attacked Urlacher via social media, putting quotes around “Lobo great” and suggesting kicker Katie Hnida portrait should be on University Stadium instead of Urlacher.
There are four giant replications of former Lobo stars on the west side of the UNM Stadium press box – Urlacher, Don Perkins, Bobby Santiago and Robin Cole.
Enchantment Sports requested comment through the school’s athletic department from first-year UNM football coach Danny Gonzales.
At his initial news conference, Gonzales – a former Lobo player and assistant coach – said he was a roommate of Urlacher’s while they played at UNM.
As of early Thursday evening, UNM had not returned the request.
Urlacher, a Lovington native whose Lobo No. 44 has been retired, hosts an annual banquet/golf tournament with ESPN 101.7 The TEAM radio in Albuquerque to benefit the Salvation Army.
Joe O’Neill, president of 101.7, said, “Urlacher has been back here the last four years and visited the South Campus (athletic department) each time. And I know that last year he spoke to the entire football team.
“As recently as February, he came in for an alumni group to celebrate the hiring of his friend, Danny Gonzales, and (Urlacher’s former Lobo coach) Rocky Long. He’s got a genuine love for UNM and this community.”
Urlacher also has reportedly donated $500,000 to the Lobo football program and is flat-out one of the greatest players in school history.
Mark Smith has worked in New Mexico sports media for more than four decades, and is one of the most decorated sports journalists in state history. Smith has won more than 30 combined awards in print, television and radio and has been honored nationally for investigative reporting. He is the editor in chief of Enchantment Sports. Contact him at mark.enchantmentsportsNM@gmail.com.