As we continue to mourn the unjust death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers on May 25, protests, riots and real conversations about change are happening all over the United States and the world in an effort to bring attention back to racial inequality, police brutality and the unfair treatment of black Americans that has been going on for far too long.
Several Michigan State athletes, coaches, staff and other members of the university have made their voices heard about this tragedy and are speaking out about Floyd, racism and responsibility.
Football head coach Mel Tucker: “I am not a politician or reporter, I am simply a grieving father and citizen. I believe with education, justice, acceptance and love, we can evoke real change.”
Tucker’s full statement is below:
Men’s basketball head coach Tom Izzo: “As a country, we must do better. We can’t change the past, but we must start to build a better future — a future where everyone feels safe and valued.”
Izzo’s full statement is below:
A statement from Coach Izzo: pic.twitter.com/DOOI60yK4Q— Michigan State Basketball (@MSU_Basketball) May 30, 2020
These are powerful statements from both Izzo and Tucker. It was important to them to speak up about this situation as head coaches that lead sports that are predominately played by black athletes. Yeah These statements prove the trust their players have for them, and the level of leadership that two of the most prominent men at the university embody.
Of course, as a black American man himself, Tucker’s opening line is particularly interesting: “As a football coach, I am acutely aware that my words can be taken out of context or distorted. I err on the side of caution always mindful not to alienate one side of the fanbase or the other. However, we live in uncertain and polarizing times that demand leadership and voices of hope.”
Despite the fact that Tucker and Izzo are university employees that must choose their words carefully, as Tucker states, both men made sure to put the importance and impact of the situation above all else, and that is truly powerful.
Women’s basketball head coach Suzy Merchant also spoke out about the injustices and about being a leader of women:
It’s time to ACT... Black Lives Matter pic.twitter.com/XnRwAHfVjL— Suzy Merchant (@SuzyMerchant) June 1, 2020
The University itself also posted a message:
To our Black students, faculty and staff, know that we stand with you. It is important, as Spartans, that we collectively understand and acknowledge the impact of racism and that the Black community is under attack in many ways right now. More: https://t.co/S49f2G9LBs— MSU (@michiganstateu) May 29, 2020
Additionally, many Michigan State athletes have spoken out about the George Floyd situation, and discussed ways in which we can implement real change.
MSU men’s basketball guard/forward Aaron Henry:
Perhaps Henry, who is still weighing his options between the NBA Draft and coming back to college for his junior year, said it best with a series of simple but effective tweets.
2020 is a bad vibe— Aaron (@hennny11) May 28, 2020
How about we vote— Aaron (@hennny11) May 30, 2020
MSU linebacker Antjuan Simmons:
MSU quarterback Payton Thorne:
MSU cornerback Julian Barnett:
world crazy right now but that don’t mean you have 2 be! we all kno who toxic in this situation— Julian Barnett (@_OfficialJB1) May 29, 2020
MSU running back Elijah Collins:
MSU running back Connor Heyward:
MSU wide receiver Jayden Reed:
MSU wide receiver Tre Mosley:
This shit really sad— ™️ ¹ᵏ (@Tremosley_) May 31, 2020
MSU offensive lineman Devontae Dobbs:
MSU offensive lineman Jordan Reid:
MSU linebacker Jeslord Boateng:
Until there’s a alternative solution please stop talking and let these people grieve https://t.co/a2lRlVYkwY— Jeslord Boateng (@JeslordBoateng6) June 1, 2020
(Now former) MSU cornerback Josh Butler:
Several other current/former MSU football and basketball players such as Cassius Winston, Rocket Watts, Gabe Brown, Miles Bridges, Jaren Jackson Jr., Nick Ward, Shakur Brown, Matt Allen, Michael Dowell, Davion Williams, Tre’Von Morgan, Jalen Hunt, Thomas Kithier, Marcus Bingham Jr., Malik Hall, Julius Marble and many, many others have shared their own messages or retweeted/quoted tweeted the messages of others.
Other Michigan State staffers and assistant coaches also made their feelings known:
Defensive line coach Ron Burton:
Running backs coach William Peagler:
MSU tight ends coach Ted Gilmore:
Shout out to the leadership of this team @Coach_mtucker for gathering the team to address and educate during these very sensitive times!! #gogreen #relentless #strongertogether pic.twitter.com/xezee3KjN7— Ted Gilmore (@Coach_TGilmore) June 1, 2020
Men’s basketball assistant coach Dane Fife:
Men’s basketball assistant coach Dwayne Stephens:
Director of Player Personnel: Scott Aligo:
Director of Player Engagement Darien Harris:
Of course there are many other MSU athletes, coaches, staff, administrators, etc., who also shared their views or maybe don’t have social media, but the point is that everybody is talking about the tragic events, and perhaps, we will see real change come from this tragedy.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and all of the other victims.
Given the magnitude of this situation, we have decided to close the comments section on this post for now, however, we may decide to open it back up at a later time and you can always join the conversation on our social media channels.