Ole Miss football players marched to The Square chanting “no justice, no peace.”
Amidst a wave of activism from athletes across all sports, Ole Miss football players decided not to practice on Friday, and instead used that time to draw attention to the police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement.
The players marched to The Square in downtown Oxford, Mississippi, chanting familiar Black Lives Matter phrases like “hands up, don’t shoot” and “no justice, no peace.” They gathered in front of a Confederate monument that some players have previously been vocal about having removed.
Head coach Lane Kiffin marched alongside his players.
The Ole Miss football Twitter account later shared a statement that read, “As the Ole Miss football family, we are committed to change. Police brutality and other injustices occurring across our nation have to end, and our team stands united to embrace our diversity and promote a culture of peace, equality and understanding. Regardless of our backgrounds, we all need to listen to each other and learn to respect and love our differences.”
Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin said he was proud of his players.
Black Lives Matter: A wave of athlete activism
Athletes across all major sports protested against police brutality this week, following the Milwaukee Bucks decision to forgo their Game 5 matchup against the Orlando Magic in the NBA playoffs on August 26th after the shooting of an unarmed Black man by police officers in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Since then, the NBA, WNBA, NHL, MLB, and MLS have had some or all of their games postponed.
“Over the last few days in our home state of Wisconsin, we’ve seen the horrendous video of Jacob Blake being shot in the back seven times by a police officer in Kenosha, and the additional shooting of protestors. Despite the overwhelming plea for change, there has been no action, so our focus today cannot be on basketball,” the Milwaukee Bucks said in their official statement after their decision not to play. “When we take the court and represent Milwaukee and Wisconsin, we are expected to play at a high level, give maximum effort and hold each other accountable. We hold ourselves to that standard, and in this moment, we are demanding the same from our lawmakers and law enforcement.”
Following their professional counterparts, college athletes have also been vocal this week. Mississippi State and Kentucky also elected not to practice to show their support for the fight against police brutality. Oklahoma’s football team refused to practice and marched on campus, locked arm-in-arm.