People from across the sports world have spoken out in recent days following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores — who is one of just four minority head coaches in the NFL — joined in on Friday morning.
Flores released a powerful statement to ESPN, taking issue with people who were outraged over former quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s protests during the national anthem or the NFL’s recent attempts to incentivize minority hires by revising the Rooney Rule, but have stayed silent in recent days.
“I've had the privilege of being a part of many different circles that have included some very powerful and influential people of all different races and genders. The events of the last few weeks have brought some of the memories of those conversations back to light,” Flores said. “I vividly remember the Colin Kaepernick conversations. ‘Don't ever disrespect the flag’ was the phrase that I heard over and over again. This idea that players were kneeling in support of social justice was something some people couldn't wrap their head around. The outrage that I saw in the media and the anger I felt in some of my own private conversations caused me to sever a few long-standing friendships.
“Most recently, I've had conversations about incentivizing teams for hiring minorities. Again, there was some outrage in the media and talks that this would cause division amongst coaches, executives and ownership. I bring these situations up because I haven't seen the same OUTRAGE from people of influence when the conversation turns to Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and most recently George Floyd. Many people who broadcast their opinions on kneeling or on the hiring of minorities don't seem to have an opinion on the recent murders of these young black men and women. I think many of them QUIETLY say that watching George Floyd plead for help is one of the more horrible things they have seen, but it's said amongst themselves where no one can hear. Broadcasting THAT opinion clearly is not important enough.”
Statement from Head Coach Brian Flores. pic.twitter.com/dJOdHHSvNT— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) May 29, 2020
Flores has joined plenty across the sports world in speaking out after Floyd died in police custody this week and a video of his arrest — which showed a white Minneapolis police officer putting his knee on Floyd’s neck for seven minutes while he yelled out, “I can’t breathe” — vent viral, sparking massive protests and riots across the country. That officer was arrested on Friday and is now facing murder and manslaughter charges.
Flores also cited the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery — who was jogging in Georgia in February when he was shot and killed by two white men — and Breonna Taylor — an EMT who was shot multiple times after police entered her Louisville home in the middle of the night during a narcotics investigation in March.
Hopefully, Flores said, their deaths can help spark lasting change across the country. The 39-year-old is more than ready to use his platform as a leader in the NFL to help make that happen, too.
“I lead a group of young men who have the potential to make a real impact in this world,” Flores said. “My message to them and anyone else who wants to listen is that honesty, transparency and empathy go a long way in bringing people together and making change. I hope that the tragedies of the last few weeks will open our hearts and minds to a better way of communicating and hopefully create that change.”
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