In the midst of a civil rights movement that is spreading throughout the country, Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley and inside linebackers coach Brian Odom decided to voice their support in a tweet Sunday at midnight.
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
"We have a long ways to go as a society," Riley said in the tweet. "I am committed to being a part of the change."
After George Floyd, a Minneapolis resident who was arrested for a non-violent crime, was killed by Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin, people all over the nation have voiced their displeasure with the tragedy, as well as their stand against the prejudice and injustice in America. In the world of sports, Riley is one of many prominent figures — college coaches, college athletes and professionals — who have declared their support to the cause.
In an interview with The Norman Transcript Saturday, former Sooner wide receiver Nick Basquine, who played on Riley's offense for five years, spoke out about how the nation can take these events as a lesson for learning how America can improve.
Riley's tweet isn't the first time he's expressed his support for his players' activism against racism. In January 2019, Riley, going into his third year as OU's head coach, supported his players when they protested against a video of an OU student painting her face black (blackface) and saying a racial slur. Riley was asked about the incident soon after in a press conference.
His message wasn't any different from his tweet on Sunday.
"(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. "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."