More college football teams decided to use their platforms to advocate for racial and social justice instead of practicing on Friday.
Both Oklahoma and Ole Miss participated in protests in lieu of an official practice. At Oklahoma, the entire team had a social justice march on Friday morning.
“There’s been a lot of buildup to this … our players have been a part of potential policy changes,” Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley said. “They’ve been a part of a lot of changes within the university, within the athletic department. We always push our players to try to do more and more and more and that doesn’t just apply to the football field and doesn’t just apply to the classroom.”
Riley has been one of the most outspoken college football coaches over the summer in support of the Black Lives Matter movement for racial and social justice. And Oklahoma’s march on Friday came over five years after the team — coached by former coach Bob Stoops at the time — marched in protest and solidarity after a racist video from an Oklahoma fraternity became public. The fraternity was subsequently banned from campus.
At Ole Miss, players went to the town square in Oxford to protest and changed “no justice, no peace.”
#BREAKING Ole Miss football team walked out of practice today to protest for racial justice and an end to police brutality. Team is chanting “no justice no peace” at town square pic.twitter.com/t2B3JVJadA— Jalyn Souchek (@Local24Jalyn) August 28, 2020
At Kansas, players and coaches participated in a march organized by the women’s basketball team. The football team didn’t practice Thursday.
After not practicing Thursday, players at Kansas issued a statement that said “we are sick and tired of the systematic racism and inequality towards minorities that continues in the country.”
Friday evening, Missouri’s players tweeted a statement explaining why they didn’t practice.
We are relentless in our pursuit of equality for all. pic.twitter.com/gxYyEn1XQs— Mizzou Football (@MizzouFootball) August 28, 2020
The protests by multiple teams come a day after at least six teams didn’t practice on Thursday in the wake of police shooting Jacob Blake multiple times in the back Sunday night in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, is currently hospitalized. The wave of sports protests began Wednesday afternoon when the Milwaukee Bucks decided not to play against the Orlando Magic in an NBA playoff game. The NBA said Friday that it plans to resume the playoffs on Saturday after a three-day hiatus.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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