Raekwon McMillan came to Ohio State as one of the most highly rated recruits in the 2014 class. Like any other freshman, McMillan, a Georgia native, was getting acclimated with classes, new teammates and a new scenery. Two years later, McMillan is the face of the OSU defense, the Silver Bullets, and figures to be the next in the lineage of OSU linebackers in the NFL.
The junior middle linebacker has been the soul of the defense for the Buckeyes, but also this fall, he began to exercise his political freedom. McMillan became involved in voter registration in central Ohio for the 2016 election season as a member of the Ohio State chapter of Omega Psi Phi fraternity.
“We had a program of voter registration and really just spread the word, mostly to the African-American people throughout central Columbus,” McMillan said. “That’s what we try to focus on, but we just want to build awareness and teach what this election is about, what each candidate stands for.”
Omega Psi Phi is a historically African-American Greek life organization that is governed by the National Pan-Hellenic Council. Redshirt sophomore safety Damon Webb also is a member.
McMillan joined the fraternity after his sophomore year. At first, he said he never really saw himself as a fraternity member, however he began to look more into the extracurriculars, which drew him to Omega Psi Phi.
McMillan said that, before the 2016 election cycle, he never really into politics, but began to pay more attention to it as the presidential campaign intensified. As an “Omega man,” McMillan felt like it was his duty to encourage others to take political action in an unprecedented election.
OSU coach Urban Meyer hosted Patriot Week throughout the Memorial Day weekend this past spring, bringing in several guest lecturers to talk to the team about their responsibilities as Americans — voting being one of them. On Monday, Meyer expressed how important it is to him that his team understands the civic duties each individual has, and said he hopes each of his players votes on Tuesday.
McMillan, along with redshirt junior quarterback J.T. Barrett, said they will vote on Tuesday.
“It’s something that’s going to impact us not only here in Columbus but also around the country,” McMillan said. “So we want everybody to have awareness to what’s going on around us because you’re exercising your political rights.”
Webb said McMillan’s activism in Omega Psi Phi has a direct correlation with the linebacker’s ability to persevere in intense situations and uplift his teammates. Webb added that the leadership traits McMillan are not confined to the gridiron.
“I would definitely say he’s gotten better. He’s always been a leadership-type dude, so even outside of the football field — our fraternity brothers, he brought leadership to them,” Webb said. “It’s like a brotherhood outside of the locker room … we build a bond that is unbreakable.”