Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley said his job as a college football coach had nothing to do with his decision to tweet support for the Black Lives Matter movement on Tuesday.
Riley was one of the many college football coaches and programs that participated in the “Blackout Tuesday” push on social media. Riley posted a black image with the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter and was asked Wednesday why he chose to do that.
“Because it’s a personal belief of mine,” Riley told reporters. “All lives do matter but the incidents here of all the different things that have gone on between law enforcement and specifically black males has highlighted that. And it’s highlighted that — people have said it very well, maybe better than I can say it — that all lives can’t matter until black lives do too. And on an equal playing field. That’s something that I totally agree with.”
“That’s not something that’s done because I coach a football team that has a lot of young black males on it or has staff that has black males on it. That has nothing to do with it. It’s having been on football teams, been in those locker rooms, I’ve seen how awesome it can be when everybody takes an approach of we’re all on the same playing field, we’re all equal and how beautiful that is. And so being in those situations for the majority of my life has only made me appreciate more how awesome and how much better life is when we don’t worry about the color of skin or any other factors and we treat people the right way and people have opportunities based on the work they do and the decisions they make.”
Riley was also one of the first college coaches to speak out amidst the protests following George Floyd’s killing on May 25. He tweeted on Sunday that will “always stand with my players.”
Wednesday, echoed those sentiments and made it clear he’s open to further action for change.
“Certainly I stand with my players, I stand with an opportunity to help make this world a better place however big or small that opportunity is. So I don’t think anything would be off the table as far as a protest or a call for equality and for the world to get better, which it needs to right now. As long as it’s done tastefully, it’s well thought-out, it’s done peacefully, there’s certainly nothing off the table in that realm for me personally.”
Oklahoma’s coronavirus plans
Riley has also been outspoken about schools’ plans for workouts and team activities amidst the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. He said in May that he thought schools wanting to bring back players at the beginning of June for voluntary workouts was a ridiculous idea because of the amount of information that we’re still learning about the virus.
Oklahoma then announced that it would bring players back for voluntary workouts on July 1. Riley said that the school made that decision before the Big 12 said schools could start workouts on June 15 and that all players and staff will have to quarantine before arriving on campus and they’ll be tested upon arrival.
“It’s been close to a month ago that we made that decision and we’ve already learned so much more about it,” Riley said. “And some of the testing procedures and quarantine procedures for our players have changed just in that time. So I can’t imagine just how much more we’re going to learn over the next several weeks.”
Oklahoma State said earlier Wednesday that three athletes returning to campus this week had tested positive for coronavirus.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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