During an eventful weekend of nationwide protests for racial equality, prominent names in the Sooner football community publicly voiced their support for the movement.
A week after George Floyd, a Minneapolis resident who was arrested for a non-violent crime, was killed by Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin, a wave of "Black Lives Matter" protests have forced America to pay attention, as people protest for the deaths of Floyd and many other black Americans who have lost their lives to police brutality.
Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley took to social media to show his support for the movement. He and inside linebackers coach Brian Odom voiced their messages of support for the movement and their players in tweets Sunday around midnight, with Riley saying, "We have a long ways to go as a society. I am committed to being a part of the change."
I ALWAYS stand with my players and I am thankful that I was raised in a home that taught me that no human, regardless of race, religion,or any other factor...should ever be treated differently...we have a long ways to go as a society- I am committed to being a part of the change— Lincoln Riley (@LincolnRiley) May 31, 2020
For the next 24 hours OU coaches and players echoed the same sentiments, whether they took to Twitter or were in person at public protests.
OU wide receiver Jadon Haselwood and linebacker Jamal Morris were protesting at the Black Lives Matter Oklahoma demonstration Sunday in Oklahoma City.
OU football players Jadon Haselwood and Jamal Morris are among those at the protest in front of the jail. pic.twitter.com/jHp7OLow2H— Joe Mussatto (@joe_mussatto) May 31, 2020
Creed Humphrey, OU's starting center and 2019 team captain, posted a message of his stance against prejudice in American, saying, "As a white male in this country, I feel as though it is my duty to stand up against this police brutality and obvious racism within our country."
Outside linebackers coach Jamar Cain, cornerbacks coach Roy Manning, offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh and running backs coach DeMarco Murray expressed their displeasure with unequal treatment of black people by law enforcement. Cain, on a more personal scale, wrote about the fear he has for his 12-year-old son as he grows up, saying, "I'm afraid when he walks the dog, I'm afraid to buy him a car at 16 and that shouldn't be a issue."
VIOLENCE is NOT the answer but NEITHER is SILENCE! 💯 pic.twitter.com/uJsAFUKdBl— Roy Manning (@CoachRoyM) May 31, 2020
Over the past half-decade, Oklahoma athletics has taken to protesting multiple racist incidents. Oklahoma football players, under then-head coach Bob Stoops, skipped practice to lock arms and march in protest in 2015 after a viral video showed OU's Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity chanting racist songs with racial slurs.
After a video of an OU student painting her face black and using a racial slur in January of 2019, Riley voiced his support for his players protesting the video.
"(I) had a chance to talk to a number of our players. One, I’m proud of them. That’s part of coming to college, is learning to speak for yourself and learning to weigh in on values," Riley said shortly after the release of the video. "That’s a part of being an American citizen. I think our guys have done a great job. I encourage them to not be afraid to speak their mind. Those are real issues out there, and these are going to be part of the guys handling these issues as they grow up, that generation.
"As far as my reactions to it, it’s sickening. You hate it. On every level."