Swarm superstar discusses his heritage following racist taunts earlier this season
April 19, 2019By: Ty Merrow
(ATLANTA) – Georgia Swarm forward Lyle Thompson was featured in the April 22-29, 2019 issue of Sports Illustrated. The Swarm leader in points (100) during the 2018-19 season spoke with S.L. Price about his heritage following racist taunts directed at him during a game earlier in the 2018-19 season.
In addition to being in the most recent print edition of Sports Illustrated, the feature story on Lyle can also be found online in the SI Features section.
In the three-page spread, the 2017 NLL MVP and NLL Finals MVP discussed the history of racial taunts directed at him over the years – dating back to his high school days – and how he rose above them. Following the remarks made during the Jan. 12 game in Wells Fargo Center, Swarm players rallied around Lyle and the Swarm’s six other Native in a sign of solidarity.
Before the Swarm’s next game on Jan. 18, the team donned special jerseys bearing the trademark Thompson Brothers braid on the back of their warmup shirts, and every helmet featured a braid sticker right above the national flags for America, Canada and the Haudenosaunee.
Lyle, 26, and his older brothers – Miles, Jerome and Jeremy – created a social media campaign, #BackTheBraid, in late March to celebrate their Native heritage and traditions. The campaign also educates on Native culture and the importance the Thompsons’ braids have to the brothers.
The National Lacrosse League (NLL) partnered with the Swarm and Philadelphia Wings ahead of the two teams’ regular season finale this Saturday, April 20 in Infinite Energy Arena to host the “Back The Braid” celebration. Players on both teams will wear “Back The Braid” shirts designed by Lyle during pregame warmups and a special pregame ceremony between the two clubs.
A portion of the proceeds from the “Back The Braid” t-shirt sales will benefit Right To Play, the NLL’s official charity which assists Native youth in participating and growing in lacrosse. This celebration is intended to grow awareness of Native peoples and their crucial role in the continue growth and development of their cultural sport of lacrosse.
Miles and Jerome play with Lyle on the Georgia Swarm; Jeremy plays for the Saskatchewan Rush. The Swarm and Rush have been the winners of the last four NLL Cups and have both clinched their postseason berths for the 2018-19 NLL postseason.
About the Georgia Swarm:
The Georgia Swarm Pro Lacrosse team is a member of the National Lacrosse League (NLL), which is North America’s professional indoor lacrosse league featuring the best players in the world. In 2017, the Swarm became NLL World Champions after a historic 17-5 season. Founded in 1986, the NLL ranks third in average attendance for professional indoor sports worldwide behind only the NHL and NBA. The league is comprised of 11 franchises across the U.S. and Canada, and the 2018-19 NLL season will mark the league’s 34th year. The Swarm competes in an 18-game regular season schedule from December to April, followed by the NLL Playoffs in May and June. The Swarm plays their home games at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Field at Infinite Energy Arena in Duluth, Ga.
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