As national unrest intensified Saturday over the killing of a black man while in custody of four Minneapolis police officers, USF’s Jeff Scott and UCF’s Josh Heupel joined the burgeoning list of college football coaches breaking their silence via social media.
Shortly after 7 p.m. Saturday, Scott tweeted a quotation from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., adding a six-paragraph statement ending with a Bible verse (John 13:34) urging people to love one another.
“I have a heavy heart for the many people in our country who are truly hurting right now,” Scott wrote. “I also can’t help but think about our players, coaches and their families who must deal with the racism and social injustice that exists today.
“It is during times like this that we ALL must come together and be UNITED to end this unexplainable hate and replace it with LOVE.”
About an hour before that, Heupel issued an extensive statement of his own on Twitter:
“This is not an isolated incident and there needs to be justice delivered for so many young black men who have been unfairly targeted in a country where racism is still with us.”
On Monday, 46-year-old George Floyd died during his arrest. Video showed a white Minneapolis police officer kneeling on his neck for nearly nine minutes while Floyd was in handcuffs. The officer, 44-year-old Derek Chauvin, has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. The three other officers present have been fired but not charged as of yet.
The nature of Floyd’s death has sparked protests — some of which have led to violence, property damage and looting ― across the country.
Miami second-year coach Manny Diaz tweeted Friday evening that he had Coral Gables Police Chief Ed Hudak Jr. address his players, adding that, “We stand together in the condemnation of the actions of the officers that led to the death of George Floyd while under custody.”
Diaz included a photo of Floyd with the hashtag #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd
Florida coach Dan Mullen tweeted no statement per se, but retweeted a short video from university president Kent Fuchs decrying racism and violence directed at African-Americans.
Late Friday night, new Florida State coach Mike Norvell retweeted an extensive statement from former Bucs coach Tony Dungy, adding a comment of his own:
“It’s heartbreaking seeing the events that have taken place throughout our country this week as well as the countless number of injustices done out of hate, discrimination and ignorance throughout my lifetime."