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Seminoles react, seek ‘meaningful change’

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Anquan Boldin retired from the NFL just months after his cousin, Corey Jones, was shot by an off-duty police officer in 2015.

Boldin, a Florida State standout who went on to play 14 seasons in the NFL, has used his platform to educate sports fans about his cousin’s story and racism in the U.S. As part of his effort the last few years, Boldin founded Players Coalition, which works with politicians to open eyes to inequality.

“The thing I’m afraid of is allowing this moment to pass without bringing about meaningful change,” Boldin told USA Today. “I’m afraid that if we don’t come together collectively, the messaging will get hijacked, and we will miss this moment in creating real change to make sure that we’re not back here again. So, for us, everybody is angry. Everyone is outraged and rightfully so. But you have to sit back and ask yourselves –number one, ‘What is it that I want?’ and number two, ‘How do I get what I want?’

“We all have to understand that there is a common enemy. There is a common system. There are common players who are allowing this to continue in our country. And if we’re going to make any progress, we’ve got to shine the light on there.”

Race and discrimination are uncomfortable discussions but it has come to the forefront in the last few weeks. George Floyd, who was killed when a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his throat for eight minutes and 46 seconds. Breonna Taylor, an emergency room technician, was struck at least eight times by Louisville police, who were executing a search warrant in her apartment. Ahmad Aubrey was killed in Georgia but his alleged attackers were not arrested until months later after a New York Times investigation.

Protests around the nation began last week, with some remaining peaceful while other protestors vandalized businesses. The sports world, including FSU coaches and some players, have asked that this be a time of listening and understanding.

“I’ve never seen so much hatred in this world,” FSU receivers coach Ron Dugans posted on Twitter. “It’s one thing after another. I look at my children and I’m fearful because I don’t know what the future holds for them. I pray daily for life, health and strength, and love, peace and happiness. Today, Lord, I pray for justice. We can’t go on like this.”

FSU linebackers coach Chris Marve, posting on Twitter: “Racism. bigotry. Prejudice. Though all are both overtly taught / learned behaviors and subconsciously and often conspicuously perpetuated, they all share a singular commonality: each is an infectious disease. And like most diseases, each needs to be eradicated in its entirety and uprooted from the body that is America. OUR America. OUR Home.”

FSU defensive tackles coach Odell Haggins, posting on Twitter, quoted Dr. Martin Luther King in saying “In the end, we will not remember the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” Haggins reflected on his work with young people and being a mentor who instills Christian values. “I love coaching,” Haggins wrote. “However, I am more than a coach and the players that I coach are more than players on a football team or about winning games. They are family. As a coach, this moment should not be about nice sound bites to save face. The moment should be about reflection and living what you state.”

Many athletes and coaches posted on Twitter using #BlackOutTuesday to keep the conversation at the forefront for all of us.

Terrell Buckley, who is now at Ole Miss, posted on Twitter that he didn’t know Floyd but “he could have been me, a family member, or one of my present or past players. It is an unusual feeling to know that all human life is not valued the same. However, I am encourage by seeing people of all different races come together for change. I am hopeful that one day we will have lasting positive change.”

Comments

  1. Jerry Kutz Reply

    I invite our readers to comment on this topic/article on our message board where we will add additional comments from former and current players and coaches in the coming days.

  2. James B Apple Reply

    A man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right. A man dies when he refuses to stand up for justice. A man dies when he refuses to take a stand for that which is true. Martin Luther King Jr., March 1965, Selma Alabama

  3. joseph johnston Reply

    I spent 20 years of my life AS A MILITARY MAN, FROM 1957 TO 1978. in the early part of that 20 years i saw race figts several times. As i matured i began to see the distance between blacks and whites narrow. I though in the military at least we were getting together at last. When i went to the Post Office, 27 yrs, i never experienced any racial activity where-ever i was. i heard about unrest and violence towards blacks and just did not understand it. I finally began to see that living in fear for all blacks was a way of life for them and that is a hell of a way to live. I stand , as much as that mesns to those who are going through it, with you. I do not know how to solve the problems we face but i think a first step is to do away the :Blue Line: of the police departments, better training and recruitment of it’s
    officer. Just like in the military where we are trained to react with force when required and in fear of our lives the police must train and react to violence with enough force to affect the desired result. Four aginst one with hands tied behind his back seems to be the right force, but to have three other officers stand and watch is murder. If those officers were so afraid for tjeir lives with George on the grojng, hands ried behind his back, then they have no right to be wearing a uniform tha t is meant to protect us.Please let us come together after this tragety and work on ways to solve this way of life for our blac, brothers and sisters.

  4. David Shafer Reply

    I showed up on campus in the fall of 1975 from Ohio. I went to a HS that only had a couple black students. However, I had seen the anti-war demonstrations first hand, almost on a daily basis since my father was stationed at a large Air Base. I watched the race riots on TV. I was recruited by Kent State and the first place they brought me was to the spot of the Kent State 4 that were killed by the National Guard in an anti-war demonstration. So, I was well versed in demonstrations against the government, over reaction from the police, etc. Nothing prepared me for Tallahassee. It was still de- facto segregated and racist. I couldn’t process it, so I just went on with my life. I lived at Osceola Hall, so there were Af-Am members of the track team and basketball team which I interacted with. And as a scholarship athlete I interacted with football players occasionally. But, for the most part, I just did my thing without thinking about the problems of race.

    It wasn’t until a few years later that I started working for the city parks and recreation dept. as a life guard and swimming pool manager, that I was forced to see it. I always made sure that we had at least one and usually a couple black life guards for the pool I managed that had a all black clientele. The first year we had a Leon HS football star and he was great with the kids. One day I brought him home down the street and was shocked at where he lived. So, began my first glimpse of race in America. The black church next door would have confirmations at the pool. I watched and learned. They invited me to their church after. This continued my education and ability to process the deep divide. I am glad this is getting attention, again. And hopeful that we can make progress. It seems that progress has stalled over the last couple decades, and it needs to get everyone’s attention again. The pain is written on the face of Marvin Wilson and others. I feel sad when people say and think that the legacy of slavery is over and people should just move on. It stays with us forever. We can only attempt to continue progress in ourselves and society.
    H

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