Protests and riots in America: Multiple Florida Gators speak out demanding racial justice

By Adam Silverstein
May 31, 2020
Protests and riots in America: Multiple Florida Gators speak out demanding racial justice

Protests and riots rage on throughout major cities across the country following the murder of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis, Minnesota, police officer, the prior murders of Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, and the continued systematic racism and injustice facing minorities in the United States. A number of individuals connected to the Florida Gators have taken a stand and let their thoughts be heard over the last couple of days.

From former players to current coaches and administrators, below is a compilation of their voices that have been shared publicly.

You may support those fighting for racial justice by contributing donations to the ACLU or the NCAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

Udonis Haslem, forward, Miami Heat:

I want to be a part of the solution. We have to have a plan moving forward, it has to be together. … As a black man raising black kids in America, I’m scared as hell. Way more scared than I ever was for myself. Way more scared that I ever was for myself. Not only black men and black lives, the other side of who protects those black men and black lives. Now you’re saying it’s in the community and we got to worry about the people that are supposed to protect us. I say to everybody, those people were terrible people before they put that badge on. They were terrible people before they put that badge on. For you to stand there and watch that, that ain’t got nothing to do with your badge, that has nothing to do with your color, that has nothing to do with your race. That’s something inside you that’s messed up. That’s your soul that ain’t right. So if you can stand there and watch that, I can’t say we can blame the whole armed forces and everybody who wears a badge. Ain’t no way.”

Bradley Beal, guard, Washington Wizards:

The world will never grow until we are comfortable having the uncomfortable talks and talking action upon them!!!! Racism, Discrimination, Gangs, Sexism, Police Brutality, Guns, Drugs, Systematic Injustice, etc… all social issues we need to FIX!!!!”

“It’s funny how people think: I’ve been rich my whole life. I forgot where I came from. I don’t deal with what they do! I’m privileged. I don’t get racially profiled. I don’t get stopped for nothing. I lost touch of what’s going on. All because I made it to the league.”

Pete Alonso, first baseman, New York Mets:

For the past could of days, I’ve struggled to wrap my mind around what’s happening. I have a voice and I will not remain silent. My heart has been broken over the murder of George Floyd. I will never know what it feels like to be discriminated against because of the color of my skin. To anyone who faces this type of discrimination, I will fight for you and be an ally. I will always stand with you. There needs to be justice and change made for the better of humanity. Let words be our sword and unity be our honor. Take care of each other.

Thaddeus Bullard, WWE superstar “Titus O’Neil:”

I’m literally sitting in my car looking at pictures of me and my sons and just came to tears. As a black father this shit is frustrating, hurtful, Scary etc, I’ve been able to teach my kids a lot about life but I’m not equipped to teach or tell my kids or other black and brown kids on how to deal with Type of shit OVER AND OVER AGAIN. I doubt very seriously that my Friends, Coworkers, business partners etc that don’t look like me have EVER had to think about half the stuff I do as a Black Parent trying to Raise two Black Men in this country. I doubt they’ve ever had to Have ‘The Talk’ with their children, I doubt they’ll ever Have to tell their children how beautiful and Amazing they are as much as I tell mine, I doubt they’ll have to wonder if their kids will be okay with driving their cars outside of getting into an accident , I doubt they have to go shopping for Body cameras to install in their kids vehicles, I have a lot of doubts, Concerns, Anger, Frustration and Questions….WHAT I DON’T have is ANSWERS and That’s where many Black and Brown people are at today and have been for years. I can’t explain to them that the outrage people have for hurting Dogs and Animals is deafening, yet the outrage for Killing Black Men and women with A Law enforcement Uniform on seems to be addressed as business as usual. I don’t feel like a SuperHero, I don’t have any answers and I do feel hopeless in this situation. #ImNotOkWithThis”

Dan Mullen, head football coach:

I stand in union with President Fuchs, my current and former players, coaches, and all others that have used their voice to condemn racism and oppression. During these difficult times, we need unity, compassion and a love for each other more than ever. As we slowly return to the freedoms in our daily lives from this global pandemic, my hope is that we can work together towards a society with freedom, opportunity and social justice for ALL.”

Mike White, head basketball coach:

Our staff, our team and I are deeply saddened by the needless passing of George Floyd, the latest example of brutality and social injustice in our country. We can’t close our eyes and wish racism away. We can’t ignore Black lives and other ethnic minorities in America. What we can do is educate ourselves, listen to experiences that are different from our own and try to understand the hurt, the fears, the anger, the sadness those experiences can bring. We can work to be part of the solution. We can bring hope to the future. We can pray for equality and justice.”

Scott Stricklin, athletic director:

Trying to process what is happening in our nation, and the ongoing racism and violence many African-Americans regularly face, highlighted the last few weeks by the tragic killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Aubrey. … As we struggle to comprehend the impact of these lives that have been unnecessarily cut short, we as a society, ALL OF US, need to display genuine LOVE to one another, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity or nationality. Let’s see one another as you would want to be seen.”

W. Kent Fuchs, president, University of Florida:

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