The Ole Miss football team on Friday made a joint decision to cancel practice and to march together to The Square.
Cancellation and marching were meant to peacefully protest the ongoing police brutality in America and the social injustices black Americans have continued to battle.
A source within the program told Red Cup Rebellion this was in no way a “boycott” or a “walk-out”, but it was a decision head coach Lane Kiffin and the players made together. The goal ultimately to try and continue to push towards a peaceful resolution and progress in the aforementioned areas of grief and strife.
Ole Miss freshman defensive back Jalen Denton took to Twitter to confirm what it was the Rebels were doing on Friday.
“We did not walk out of practice. Our head coach gave us the choice to go peacefully make a change today instead of practice. He marched right along side of us. Much love to him.”
“We did this as a team,” another program source told RCR. “We traded practice for a more important issue on this day.”
The Ole Miss football Twitter account and Lane Kiffin both released statements shortly after the march and peaceful protest on The Square concluded, further backing the team as they continue to try and use their platform to make a difference in the community.
I’m proud of our players coming together for justice and change. We are going to continue to work together to improve the world around us, for everyone. https://t.co/1RUekwEgWB— Lane Kiffin (@Lane_Kiffin) August 28, 2020
Following the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisc., there was a widespread movement of athletes using their platform to try and make a difference by bringing awareness. NBA teams walked off the court in Orlando, MLB teams left the field, MLS teams took a knee during the national anthem, and now college teams are using their platform to try and make a difference.
Ole Miss’ athletic director Keith Carter also spoke up about today’s peaceful protest and, to no one’s surprise, fully supports the Rebel football players and the staff.
“I support and admire our student-athletes who continue to take a stand against social injustices like the horrific events that occurred in Minnesota, Wisconsin and other parts of our nation,” Carter said. “I want to thank our local authorities for helping make today’s peaceful march happen.”
Rebels’ assistant strength and conditioning coach Lance Ancar also spoke up on Twitter as to why the team was taking a stand.
“We demanded a change, when people are treated unfairly something has to be done to change it! Couldn’t be more proud. They showed straight class and exercised their rights as US citizens.”
For some, this might seem as a waste of time or something that will not at all ignite change. But, these players and the football staff felt it was necessary and the right thing to do in this time in order to continue to bring awareness to these issues.
We have a group of extraordinary men. They are fighting for what they believe in as a BAND OF BROTHERS. We are with them every step of the way FOR LIFE!! I love these guys they are my WHY FACTOR. Appreciate you men @OleMissFB https://t.co/0Wgskr8x13— Wilson Love (@CoachWilsonLove) August 28, 2020
This was not a “boycott” or a “strike”, the football program demonstrated peacefully for something they earnestly believe in. They talked it over with the coaching staff and everyone agreed that this was a constructive use of time as opposed to practicing for the September 26th opener against the Florida Gators.