Dozens of Ohio State coaches, athletes and recruits are speaking out on social media in response to the killing of Minnesota man George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer on May 25, which has sparked nationwide protest.
Among the Buckeyes taking a stance against the brutality that led to Floyd’s death are several university leaders, including president Michael Drake, athletic director Gene Smith, head football coach Ryan Day, head basketball coach Chris Holtmann, head women’s basketball coach Kevin McGuff and several assistants for both the football and basketball teams.
Drake and Smith both released statements on May 29 expressing their horror at Floyd’s death.
Some thoughts about the events that transpired this week: pic.twitter.com/axE3rwsfPz
— gene smith (@OSU_AD) May 29, 2020
“On behalf of The Ohio State University, I want to express our horror and disgust at the brutality and inhumanity we witnessed this week in Minneapolis,” Drake said in a statement. “I am heartsick at seeing the death of yet another unarmed man in police custody, and yet another example of the racism that has crippled our nation for so very long. We must seriously and concretely redouble our efforts to end abuse, discrimination, bigotry and hatred. I have reached out to leaders in our community to deepen and extend our dialogue on how to actively address racial injustice. We have witnessed despicable acts like this far too many times in our lives.
“We must work as one to live up to our values and to create the just society that is our birthright.”
Day and Holtmann echoed those sentiments, as did several assistant coaches, including linebackers coach Al Washington, and basketball assistants Ryan Pedon, Terry Johnson and Jake Diebler.
“Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.”
— Ryan Day (@ryandaytime) May 29, 2020
“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” Martin Luther King Jr. pic.twitter.com/xu0lPBVM1t
— Chris Holtmann (@ChrisHoltmann) May 29, 2020
— Al Washington (@CoachWash56) May 29, 2020
Amen, Coach. Thankful that we work for a boss that will always stand up for what is right. https://t.co/nQON63B1rP
— Ryan Pedon (@ryanpedon) May 29, 2020
In the 7 years I have worked along side you you have been authentic in these conversations about justice with our staff and players. Thanks Coach, for using your platform for better. https://t.co/rIG9usTCrA
— Terry Johnson (@CoachTLJohnson) May 29, 2020
We MUST unite against racism.
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” – MLK Jr
Thankful for the way you lead our program Coach. https://t.co/zRLchpJrYI
— Jake Diebler (@CoachJDiebler) May 29, 2020
Basketball players Justin Ahrens and Kyle Young expressed desire for change. Young said in a Tweet that he’s “sick to his stomach after seeing yet another innocent man’s life was taken.” Harvard transfer Seth Towns was involved in protests on Friday.
100%. It’s really a sick world we live in & something gotta change. I was raised to spread PEACE LOVE & POSITIVITY. Regardless of your skin color, political power, how much money u have etc. We get ONE chance at this thing called life & I watched a man die face down in cuffs? Smh https://t.co/kW97MJGjpt
— Justin Ahrens (@ahrensjustin12) May 28, 2020
I’m sick to my stomach after seeing yet another innocent mans life was taken. Racism is an evil that is still lurking around. In no way can you justify it. Those of us who don’t experience this discrimination need to speak up. I pray God pulls us out of these very dark times!
— Kyle Young (@kyle_young25) May 29, 2020
Linebacker Teradja Mitchell, defensive end Zach Harrison and quarterback Danny Vanatsky all sent out similar Tweets, as did former Buckeye cornerback Malcolm Jenkins, a long-time advocate for civil rights, and former Ohio State and LSU quarterback Joe Burrow.
Shouldn’t have to fear for my life when I see a police officer.
— Teradja Mitchell (@teradja_) May 27, 2020
There is so much hate in this world
— Zachary Uchiha (@zacharrison_) May 28, 2020
Being a white man, I will never be able to fully empathize with what Black Americans have gone through and continue to deal with in this country. However, I am able to stand beside my brothers and sisters as they fight to not just be heard, but to facilitate tangible changes.
— dan (@Danny_Vanatsky) May 29, 2020
Who protects us from the Police?Charge and convict the murderers of George Floyd ! pic.twitter.com/90hN3AmNYo
— Malcolm Jenkins (@MalcolmJenkins) May 27, 2020
The black community needs our help. They have been unheard for far too long. Open your ears, listen, and speak. This isn’t politics. This is human rights.
— Joey Burrow (@Joe_Burrow10) May 29, 2020
Future Buckeyes including halfback TreVeyon Henderson, defensive end Tunmise Adeyele and defensive tackle Michael Hall shared their thoughts as well.
Sorry followers if standing up for my people offends you.. 🚶🏽♂️
— TreVeyon Henderson (@TreveyonH15) May 29, 2020
Don’t apologize trey they’re uncomfortable cause they know what we’re saying is true https://t.co/1QYriNDLLF
— 🎲 (@TunmiseAdeleye) May 29, 2020
The times that we are going through in today’s society with the virus outbreak and innocent people dying etc… this is the time to get closer to the people you love and cherish these moments forever because tomorrow isn’t promised for anyone…💔
— Øütęr Špãçē ➕➕💕 (@MichaelHallJr_) May 29, 2020
Adeyele has spoken strongly in support of the nationwide protests, posting on May 29 that “inaction is action, y’all see what’s happening now, make the choice, do you care enough to speak out?”