'Bigger than basketball': Clayton basketball star leaves Liberty University after Falwell's repeated insensitivity

CLAYTON, N.C. (WTVD) -- Even as a child Asia Todd never had a problem speaking up.

"If she was on a playground and someone was being mistreated, she was going to stand up for the individual" explained her mom Latoya.

So it's no real surprise that she's grown into a young woman with strong convictions.

"I'm not scared to like speak out on things I see or just speak on things that are wrong. We just need leaders to step up and definitely have the courage to speak out on things and not accept the status quo." Todd told ABC11.

Thursday night, in a video posted to her social media channels, Asia announced that she was leaving the Liberty basketball team. Not overplaying time or anything like that, but because she couldn't represent a school with Jerry Falwell Jr. as its president.

"Due to the racial insensitivities shown within the leadership and culture, it simply does not align with my moral compass or personal convictions," she said in her post.

It was a decision reached after many conversations and prayers with her family, coaches and teammates at Liberty. She loved being a part of the Flames basketball program but this was "bigger than basketball" in her mind.

"It definitely was not easy to tell my teammates and coaches. My coaches, they fought hard to try to get me to stay and even though they want what's best (for the team), I believe that they still love and support me."

Latoya says the events that have unfolded since George Floyd's death certainly played a role in her daughter's decision as well.

"Everything just kind of collided at once," Latoya told ABC11. "The George Floyd situation and some of the comments from the president at Liberty, all of those things intertwined and kind of had a big impact on her deciding that this was definitely not the place that she needed to be."

The straw that broke her moral back as it were - when Falwell tweeted out a custom COVID mask with a KKK hood and a person in blackface on it. It was an intended shot at Virginia Governor Ralph Northam.

"That was something that I don't play about. Racism is not something I can condone."

Todd started 25 of 31 games for the Flames her freshman year, averaging just under nine points a game. Her future there was bright but she wasn't willing to compromise her core belief system any longer. The reaction to her video has been overwhelming.

"An incredible amount of love and support from people I don't even know. I really wish that I could go through every comment and reply to everyone and just show my love and gratitude that they've shown to me."

Former Duke and Liberty player Seth Curry reached out to Asia via Instagram to show his support. The next step now for Todd and her family is handling the flood of interest from other coaches and programs who want her on their team. She told ABC11 she's had interest from several Power 5 teams.
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