Oklahoma's Lincoln Riley: 'Fundamental Belief' to Stand by Players Who Speak Out

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJune 3, 2020

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - DECEMBER 28: Head coach Lincoln Riley of the Oklahoma Sooners looks on during warm ups before the game against the LSU Tigers in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 28, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Oklahoma football coach Lincoln Riley said he supports Sooners players who want to speak out and exercise their right to protest.

Since the killing of George Floyd on May 25, demonstrators have taken to the streets across the world to demand reforms addressing systemic racism and police brutality.

OU Daily's Caleb McCourry passed along Riley's comments from a conference call with reporters Wednesday: "I'll definitely stand with my players. And it's not just because they're my players. It's a fundamental belief. I was very fortunate I was raised in a household that taught me that no one is better than anyone else because of the color of their skin. I've been lucky enough to be in locker rooms and to support teams all my life."

Morgan Beard of KTUL in Tulsa, Oklahoma, shared more of Riley's thoughts: "We don't hold our guys back from speaking out or protesting as long as it's done peacefully, it's thought out and well-intentioned. To see how our guys have responded—I've been extremely proud."

A number of college football coaches have spoken up in support of the protests.

Floyd was being taken into custody by Minneapolis Police officers responding to a call for alleged forgery.

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In a video of the encounter, officer Derek Chauvin was shown kneeling on Floyd's neck. He remained in that position for almost nine minutes despite Floyd's repeatedly saying he couldn't breathe and for nearly three minutes after Floyd became unresponsive. Three other officers involved in the arrest did not attempt to intervene.

The four officers were fired, and prosecutors charged Chauvin with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

According to the Star Tribune's Stephen Montemayor and Chao Xiong, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison intends to charge Chauvin with second-degree murder. The other three officers would be charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.