AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas head football coach Tom Herman held an emotional team meeting Monday that he said lasted around three hours as his players attempt to process the social and racial unrest throughout the country.
The death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody has rocked the country to its core, sparking protests in cities around the nation.
Athletes from every type of socioeconomic status have spoken out against police brutality and racial inequality — including Longhorns quarterback Sam Ehlinger.
On Saturday, Ehlinger, a native Austinite, joined the growing calls around the country to end racism.
“I grew up in a predominantly white neighborhood, so playing college football has taught me a ton of lessons,” Ehlinger said. “But probably the one I’m most thankful for is the relationships and friendships I’ve built with my teammates.
“I realize that nobody should be treated differently because of their skin color and I’ve formed unbelievable relationships with guys that I’m so thankful for,” Ehlinger said in a video posted to social media.
Texas defensive back Josh Thompson posted a video to Twitter Monday, calling everyone to action over Floyd’s death.
We’re tired of being tired. I ask that we all come together as one because, at the end of the day, strength comes in numbers,” Thompson said in the post.
Texas reserve offensive lineman Matt Frost posted a heartfelt message on Twitter Wednesday after he realized how different his life experiences may have been from his fellow Longhorns teammates.
Longhorns head coach Tom Herman said Monday’s meeting was about support while allowing the student-athletes to vent frustrations.
“Now more than ever, our society needs a systemic overhaul. It starts with the way that minorities are treated implicitly and explicitly in this country. I told our players I don’t have their back, I got their front. You tell me what to do, you tell me what wall to run through…I’ll run through it. I’ll make a hole so big that you guys can walk through it, because that’s how passionately we feel. When you love somebody the way that we love our players and you see them hurt and you see them angry and you see them frustrated, much like a parent, you want to take all of that off of there, off of their heart. You want to put it all on yourself,” Herman said in the interview with Cowherd.
Also on Monday, the Big 12 basketball coaches put together their own message.
“Its time for all of us to unite together, to bring awareness in light to all the racial injustice we’re witnessing in our country, its time for us to use our platform to make a difference, and to be part of the conversation to help create solutions, we all need to be better, we all need to do better, we all need to be there for each other. The current racial climate is unacceptable, its time for a change.”