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Arizona football head coach Kevin Sumlin issues statement on death of George Floyd

kevin-sumlin-arizona-wildcats-practice-coronavirus-asymptomatic-isolation-2020-college-football Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Arizona Wildcats coach Kevin Sumlin, the first black head football coach at the UA, addressed the murder of George Floyd on Sunday, releasing this statement on Twitter:

It has been nearly 137 hours since George Floyd had his life snuffed out in a matter of nine minutes at the hands of an officer of the law on a street in Minneapolis.

137 hours of me trying to process what I witnessed on video yet again and wondering how many others have suffered without it being caught on a cellphone.

137 hours of my players and coaches and friends calling me, texting me, seeking answers for a problem that is so much bigger than just one man, one death.

137 hours of calming my young black sons, of alleviating their worst fears of trying to explain—again—why this keeps happening in our country.

137 hours of many Americans thinking, not again.

137 hours of many Americans thinking, not again.

137 hours of Black Americans wonder when it will all end.

137 hours of protests, looting, calls for peace, calls for unity.

In the time that has passed since George Floyd’s death, my emotions have run from immense anger to frustration; Horror to resolve; Sadness to hope.

I wear many hats each day: father, brother, son, coach, friend, boss, colleague. But yet no matter what hat I put on, the color of my skin does not change. Being a college head football coach, blessed to earn more than I ever could have imagined, does not make me immune to the same suspicious stares, to the same fears of being pulled over, to the same assumptions that others make of me, to the same racist remarks sent in my direction, simply because I am black.

I was born in 1964 in the heart of the Civil Rights Movement and grew up with a generation that should have done more to correct the wrongs in America. But maybe we have failed. George Floyd’s death is the latest of hundreds—thousands?—of unnecessary and tragic deaths of black men and women during my lifetime that never should have happened. But we didn’t push hard enough for change.

When I look at my football team, a true melting pot of diversity, I am buoyed by their thoughtfulness, their desire to do better and their willingness to demand change. Perhaps this generation will be the ones to fundamentally ensure social justice in America.

So, for now, what I will focus on is what I can control: my own resolve to be a part of the solution. In gestures big and small, each and every day, I must do my part to foster a better understanding among all of us. And if each of us takes on a similar responsibility maybe we won’t have to ever think, not again.