University of Louisiana coaches Billy Napier and Bob Marlin have released statements concerning the death of George Floyd — the unarmed African-American man who died while handcuffed and lying face down in the street by Minneapolis police officer last week.
Floyd’s death, and the video of it, has sparked protests in multiple cities across the United States in the days since then.
Napier released the following statement Saturday through his Twitter account:
“Often times, I talk about how much I love being a coach. To be able to impact people. To help make positive change in someone’s life. It is what I value most as a coach.
I believe the game of football is all about people, followed by strategy and competition. We have learned over time that if you put strategy or competition before people, it results in failure.
Most of what I know in life, I’ve learned from others who grew up differently from me, and from people who walked in completely different shoes than mine. From former teammates, to players I’ve coached and coaches I’ve worked with. I have my life and career in football to thank for that, but it is a perspective that many would be fortunate to have.
What happened in Minneapolis, that tragedy, isn’t the first of its kind. That reality is sad and frightening. The harsh truth is that prejudice and racism still very much exists among us, much like any other forms of wrongdoing and harm.
We will all remember where we were when we saw the video. And the following footage from the aftermath in Minneapolis, Atlanta, Brooklyn and across the country. It is horrific and inexcusable. We can’t forget the feeling. Times like these must force us to reflect and look at our society at its very core.
The question is, simply, what will we do? What will I do? And what will you do? The challenge is there. It always has been. It’s time to organize our thoughts, to develop plans and create opportunities for more education and awareness. It’s time to listen. It’s time to be at our best.
One person at a time. One relationship at a time. Be the difference!”
Marlin, the longtime Ragin’ Cajuns men’s basketball coach, also took to his Twitter account on Saturday to address the issue. Marlin posted the following:
“Saddened by the senseless death of #GeorgeFloyd. Racism and hate must stop! We need to stand together against injustice! MLK said it best… ‘Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.’ #SpeakOut”