Athletes from across the sports world have spoken out over the past week about racial injustice and police brutality in the wake of the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. Some have participated in or organized protests nationwide, while others have used their platforms to continue to put the message that Black Lives Matter in front of the public in an inescapable manner to continue to shine a light on the police’s treatment of the black community.
While many have spoken eloquently and powerfully on the subject, from Stephen Jackson to Malcolm Brogdon, others have received backlash for their commentary on the situation and protests. Drew Brees found himself getting rightfully torched by teammates and the sports world as a whole on Wednesday after he once again misconstrued the protests of police brutality by Colin Kaepernick and others during the national anthem prior to NFL games in recent years as “disrespecting the flag,” earning him backlash from teammates like Michael Thomas and Malcolm Jenkins, a fellow star QB in Aaron Rodgers, and even LeBron James.
Late on Wednesday night, Florida State’s new head coach Mike Norvell found himself in hot water with his new team before ever really stepping foot in the Seminoles locker room, as he told The Athletic’s Tashan Reed that he “went back and forth individually with every player this weekend” about the protests and discrimination. Shortly after Reed posted that quote, All-American defensive tackle Marvin Wilson issued a statement on behalf of the FSU players, saying it was a lie, they got a “generated text” from Norvell, and there was not dialogue between the two sides.
Man this 💩 did not happen mane. We got a generated text that was sent to everybody. There was no one on one talk between us and coach. This is a lie and me and my teammates as a whole are outraged and we will not be working out until further notice 💯 #hunchoout https://t.co/6Uuy6K7Eu3
— HEAD HUNCHO💧 (@marvinwilson21) June 4, 2020
I do not know what Norvell’s plan was in giving this quote beyond trying to win some PR points for being a good and caring players coach, but you can’t actually earn those points without putting the actual work in behind the scenes. Wilson says players are “outraged” by Norvell’s public statement since such conversations never really took place and will no longer be reporting to workouts until further notice.
It is really hard to lose the locker room before you’re even allowed to share the locker room together with your team, but Norvell has managed to do it. He tried to win on the recruiting trail with a nice quote about caring about his players and their journey and fight against discrimination and hate, but failed to, you know, actually care and talk with his players in the manner he suggests he did and now has some serious work to do to earn the trust of players he has earned no goodwill with.