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How Coaches are Showing Support for BLM

Posted on July 04, 2020 by John Bell

2020 has been a year combining all the things we never expected to mix together. It is doubtful anyone had a global pandemic and intense social justice movement on their betting square.  Nonetheless, coaches and players alike have become vocal in support of the Black Lives Matter Movement.  

Coaches across the NCAA have begun showing their support for their players on a variety of platforms. Head coaches from universities across the country like Auburn, Kentucky, South Carolina, and Colorado Mesa attended protests with their players, relaxing Covid-19 restrictions to allow the teams to participate.  

Other coaches are using social media platforms to show and share their support for the movement and their players. Some are making statements, participating in Blackout Tuesday, and using the hashtag #BLM. Others are delivering speeches and using their station and status to remind donors and fans alike that all lives cannot matter until Black Lives Matter too.

Building Leaders on and Off the Field

Support of coaching staff has empowered students to actively participate and even take on leadership roles in peaceful protests across the country.  

  • Athletes at the University of Texas have petitioned the school to rename specific campus buildings and choose a new school song to remove ties to racism.
  • Clemson football players led a peaceful protest at Bowman Field, while other players joined in petitioning the university to rename buildings to remove racist ties.  
  • Players at Florida State called out their coach via social media, exposing the lack of truth in his media statement on having individual conversations with players.  The concentrated effort paid off and the coach apologized in a team meeting as well as making a second, more truthful media release.  
  • Missouri football players led a peaceful protest, marching from campus to the courthouse to register to vote. The team was celebrated in the community for their efforts and leadership. But only five years ago players petitioning to dismiss the university president over his casual stance on racial injustice on campus received death threats.  

Changing the Course of History

One powerful outcome of coaches supporting equality is the privilege student-athletes are receiving. The newly elevated status is building traction for the next generation of social justice warriors. It is creating opportunities to move away from the ‘shut up and play your sport’ attitude that many patrons carry and shifting the emphasis to causes that impact players both personally and professionally.  

Prominent coaches speaking out in the news and media are calling attention to the fact that their players are people. Supporting their efforts on the field is as important as supporting their development as citizens. Matters that are important to players are becoming important to coaches. In turn, the coaches are relaying those messages to donors and school leaders in powerful public statements.  

In cases where the coaching staff is not outspoken publicly in support of players’ concerns, student-athlete leaders are utilizing social media as a platform to create change within their organizations. Players are trained on how to engage on social media and are often highly monitored by team staff. This training is working for the benefit of the players in their ability to vocalize needed reforms on their particular teams.  

In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, they are being the change they wish to see in the world.   

This development sets the stage for the next great shift in collegiate sports. Multiple states are reviewing whether or not to allow college athletes to financially benefit from their likeness and abilities.  

To get more great collegiate football content, visit our NCAAF link on

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