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Utah Athletics Coaches, Alumni React To Nationwide Protests Following Death Of George Floyd

(Photos courtesy of Deseret News and Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Former University of Utah student-athletes as well as current coaches took to social media and used their platform to express their concerns regarding the nationwide Black Lives Matter protests spurred by the death of George Floyd.

Cities all over the United States have had protests following the death of Floyd who was handcuffed and pinned to the ground by a Minnesota police officer. The officer – who has now been fired and arrested – held his knee on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes.

The officer involved has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.

Members Of Utah Athletics React To Recent Events

Utah football defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley tweeted his thoughts on the recent events.

“What happened on Memorial Day in Minnesota won’t leave my mind,” Scalley wrote. “The video sickened me. The senseless, cruel killing of George Floyd is inexcusable and indefensible. Many of my dearest friends and brothers are men of color, and I can’t imagine my life without their love or influence. I think of the young men of color I have coached, and continue to coach, and am heartbroken that any of them would have to live with the very fear that racism presents. Our nation has to be better. I’m grateful for a Utah Football Family that embraces the strength that diversity provides, and the powerful love it evokes!”

Runnin’ Utes head coach Larry Krystkowiak released a statement on Monday afternoon.

“I am at a loss for words with the events that have unfolded recently within our country,” Krystkowiak wrote. “Myself, as well as our staff and players are devastated and angered with the senseless acts of racial violence and social injustices that have led to the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and countless others. Together, we can no longer stand in silence or accept these terrible acts of hate and violence against our fellow man. We must use our platform to invoke change in this country to stamp out these acts of hate and help make an impact in any way that we can for a better future. Only together, without prejudice and hate, can we put an end to racial violence and social injustices within our country.”

Former Utah and NFL offensive lineman Isaac Asiata – who is now a police officer with the Provo Police Department – recalled his time in college with his teammates.

“Football was such a big blessing in my life,” Asiata wrote. “It blessed me with exposure to different races, cultures and backgrounds. You learn about people. You accept them for who they are as a person. And form a bond as equals striving TOGETHER. United. Together. Eternal. Soldiers.”

During the protest in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Utah Athletic Director Mark Harlan tweeted his thoughts.

“SLC is not immune to the hopelessness and fear of the underrepresented communities,” Harlan wrote. “As a leader, I need to do more everyday, to be more aware and act on their behalf. I strongly urge all to protest peacefully and avoid the violence we are seeing. Causing more pain is not the path.”

Former Utah cornerback and the second round pick of the Chicago Bears Jaylon Johnson used his platform to express his concerns.

“As a black man, a father, and a leader, this is my message,” Johnson wrote. “These current and recent events shouldn’t bring the Black and minority community together due to the fact that it has been like this. We need to stay together and grow together. We have to treat each other with love and mercy as we want others to do to us. We have to educate our generation and the ones that are coming after us that there is no divider and all men and women are created equal. I wouldn’t know what I would do if my daughter was treated as if she was beneath anybody on this earth.”

“Everyone on this earth has value and needs to be treated as such,” Johnson continued. “For all of the black community, we have to be that change that demonstrates how much we should be valued. That starts with education in school and in the real world. We should be equipped about our rights in our country, how to handle authority, how to be business men/women, how to be leaders and push other people to be great. We have to change our community first before we can expect other communities to change. As a leader I challenge the black community to these simple steps. Love others. Educate others.”

Former Utah safety and current Indianapolis Colts third round draft pick Julian Blackmon shared his thoughts on social media.

“Understand that nobody hates all white people,” Blackmon wrote. “Nobody is saying you’re all racist. Step out of your box and look at the world in our eyes. It’s a systematic issue. We were sworn rights that are constantly violated. So understand us. Before you respond with emotion.”

Trevor Allen is a Utah Utes Insider for and host of the Crimson Corner podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @TrevorASportsYou can download and listen to the podcast, here.