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College Players, Coaches Join Anti-Racism Protests

Jason Scott

Protests spanning the country after the death of George Floyd while in police custody have also reached college campuses. As student-athletes are returning to campus as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, they’re also stepping out to support those protests. 

Dozens of rallies have taken place on campuses, including on the campus of the University of Missouri, where in 2015 football players threatened a boycott after instances of racial injustice on campus. ESPN reports that last week, in a march including football players and coaches, as well as the school’s men’s and women’s basketball coaches, more than 60 players registered to vote after kneeling for eight minutes and 46 seconds — the amount of time a police officer had his knee on Floyd’s neck.

Elsewhere, including on the campuses of SEC school’s South Carolina, Kentucky and Auburn, as well as campuses such as Michigan and Texas, football players and coaches similarly demonstrated.

According to CBS Sports, South Carolina’s Will Muschamp joined players in a march to the state’s Governor’s mansion in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Kentucky coach Mark Stoops, speaking to his team and gathered media wearing a Black Lives Matter t-shirt, said “We're not going to tolerate any more racism ... we want to make a difference and be a part of the solution. That's why we're here." He encouraged his team to ensure they were registered to vote.

USA Today reports that at least half of Auburn’s football roster, as well as head coach Gus Malzahn and assistants, participated in a rally on that school’s campus on Sunday.

Jim Harbaugh, who leads the Michigan football program, joined an anti-police brutality protest in Ann Arbor.

Texas football players joined by head coach Tom Herman marched to the capitol building in Austin, where they took a knee for 9 minutes.

According to an NCAA database, 49 percent of all division-I football players are Black. 

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