The shooting of Jacob Blake is having an unprecedented impact on the sports world.
Wisconsin police shot Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, seven times in the back on August 23. Multiple sports teams boycotted games in support of Blake and in support of the fight against police brutality.
The shooting has provided a platform for professional athletes and coaches, ranging from Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers to Lakers star LeBron James, to speak their mind.
College football coaches are now doing the same. Here are some of the reactions from the most powerful figures in college athletics.
The shooting of Jacob Blake has impacted the sports world
Earlier this year, the sports world rallied together as one — even amid the coronavirus pandemic — after George Floyd’s death in police custody.
The same held true after the shooting of Blake. Four professional sports leagues — the MLB, MLS, NBA, and WNBA — all had canceled games on Wednesday.
The movement began when players from the Milwaukee Bucks boycotted their game against the Orlando Magic. Teams from other leagues followed suit.
“WE DEMAND CHANGE,” Lakers star LeBron James tweeted. “SICK OF IT”
The NBA is expected to resume its postseason later this month.
Dabo Swinney, others in college weighed in on Jacob Blake
Some of college football’s most powerful characters weighed in on the Jacob Blake shooting.
According to ABC 4 in South Carolina, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney called the shooting “incredibly disgusting and disappointing.”
“If there’s a positive and it’s hard to find a positive, but if there is one, it’s hopefully the awareness that’s been created since May and high alertness to make sure that people are held accountable and things are done right,’ Swinney told reporters. “It’s just really….you don’t have any words for it.”
Miami Hurricanes coach Manny Diaz took his thoughts to social media Wednesday night.
“Ask these two simple questions – Can things be better than they are now? And if yes, are we doing everything we can to make it so?” Diaz asked on Twitter. “Growth always comes in moments of discomfort! #Kenosha #VoteLikeYourLifeDependsOnIt“
North of Coral Gables, the Florida Atlantic football team spoke with human rights activist Richard Lapchick. The 75-year-old Lapchick fought apartheid in the 1970s and heads UCF’s Sports Business Management Graduate Program.
The Orlando Sentinel recently called Lapchick, the Director of The Insitute for Diversity & Ethics in Sport, the “racial conscience of sports.”
Clint Trickett, FAU’s co-offensive coordinator, weighed in on Lapchick’s discussion with his football team during a conference call with reporters.
“Not only just the magnitude of the speaker … but the magnitude of everything and having that right in front of you, being able to talk to someone who’s experienced it in real-time, numerous times over and over again, I think we all just took something away from that.”
Lapchick spoke with FAU as part of coach Willie Taggart’s ‘Real Life Wednesdays’ program.
Several college football programs canceled practice
Although there are no college football games yet, some teams sent their own message in support of Jacob Blake.
The Boston College and South Florida football teams each canceled practice on Thursday.
USF head coach Jeff Scott met with the media and discussed the team’s decision. Scott became emotional as he explained the impact that recent events had on his team.
“As a coach, you always take pride in being able to fix things for your players, like a coach or a dad. You want to fix whatever the problem is. This is one of those situations where you can’t fix it for your players. So part of it is just for your guys to know that you love them, that you’re there to support them and that you stand with them.”
According to ESPN, NCAA president Mark Emmert released a statement in support of peaceful protest.
“Peaceful protest is a powerful tool to drive social change and we fully support student-athletes’ rights to be heard,” Emmert wrote. “Action also drives change and we urge all student-athletes to exercise their right and responsibility to vote this November 3 to build a better and more inclusive America.”