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Pac-12 Conference, Athletic Directors Issue Joint Statement Following Death Of George Floyd

The Pac-12 logo on the court the first round game of the men's Pac-12 Tournament between the Oregon State Beavers and the Utah Utes on March 11, 2020, at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Pac-12 Conference and Athletic Directors issued a joint statement 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.

Pac-12 Statement

The Pac-12 Conference and Athletic Directors issued the following joint statement.

“Since the horrific and senseless death of George Floyd on May 25, we have all been struggling to come to terms with feelings of anger, frustration and an intense desire to find solutions to this latest, graphic testament to the injustice and racism that continues to exist in our society,” the statement read. “Now, more than ever, we need to find the strength to stand up and become active participants in being a part of the solution to end racism and discrimination of all kinds, and to hold ourselves accountable not only to saying the right things, but more importantly, doing the right things, to get us there.”

“The injustice before us is not just a problem facing African-Americans, nor a problem just facing minorities. It is an American injustice, one that we all must own and all must address head on if we wish to create a more humane, more caring and more empathetic society – one free of racism for all of us here today and for our children and their children,” the statement continued. “The Pac-12 prides itself on our diversity, inclusiveness and commitment to social causes in our communities and our society as a whole. Over the past days and in the coming days, weeks and months, we will continue to engage with our student-athletes, coaches and other members of our Pac-12 community to discuss how collectively we can take actions to help end racism and injustice.”

“We will also be hosting a number of forums with our student-athletes, moderated by thought-leaders in combatting racism, to discuss the issues of discrimination and injustice highlighted by this latest tragedy and to develop action plans,” the statement continued. “As universities tasked with educating the next generation of leaders, we are in a unique position to be a part of the solution and to hold ourselves accountable. And here is where we have great hope, and are united in our desire and in our resolve.”

All 12 Pac-12 athletic directors and conference commissioner Larry Scott’s signatures were at the bottom of the statement.

Football Coaches React

Pac-12 football coaches posted statements on Twitter including Oregon Ducks head coach Mario Cristobal.

“We all use our platforms in different ways. I will use mine to influence positive change,” Cristobal wrote. “Everyone deserves the right to feel safe and to be treated equally. It is EVERYONE’s responsibility – regardless of race, color or ethnicity – to eliminate mistreatment, racial injustice and bigotry and replace it with unity, compassion and love. Posting on social media isn’t enough. We must carry out these principles and values in our daily lives. We are responsible for using our voices for change. We are responsible for protecting those that don’t feel safe or are afraid to share their perspective. We are responsible for creating a new normal.”

USC head coach Clay Helton said in his statement that the tragic deaths of George Floyd and others have torn at the very heart of our country.

“The tragic deaths of George Floyd and others to unjust, senseless acts have torn at the very heart of our country,” Helton wrote. “We preach family, community, and country on a daily basis, yet there are still those who target others based on race, ethnicity, and creed. My prayers are for justice, equality, healing and peace in our country. In our past, there have been tipping points that have altered the course of history and forced change to create a brighter future. Now is a time for change. This is not the time for us to shy away from discussion, but to allow the voices of Americans to be heard everywhere in an appropriate manner. I believe we can all be leaders; every father, mother, brother, sister, son and daughter. We need to support one another and create change together, collectively as one cohesive unit.”

Washington head coach Jimmy Lake shared the following message on Twitter:

“The anguish I felt watching the life be taken from George Floyd has left many of us heartbroken and angry,” Lake wrote. “The incidents of the past few months must spark a change for us to do better as a society. This is about injustice that has gone on for way too long. It will take strong leadership and a desire to treat all people with dignity and empathy. This is NOT about one side vs. law enforcement. There is countless law enforcement officials who do their jobs heroically and honorably. My message to our team and beyond is being respectful, loving, honest, forthright, caring and compassionate can do a lot to bring people together and make a change for the better. My heartfelt condolences go out to Mr. Floyd and his family.”

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

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