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Gus Malzahn, Auburn Football Team, Bruce Pearl Participate in Local Protest

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJune 7, 2020

Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl reacts during the first overtime of an NCAA college basketball game against Mississippi in Oxford, Miss., Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020. No. 17 Auburn won 83-82. (AP Photo/Thomas Graning)
Thomas Graning/Associated Press

Some of the most notable members of the Auburn athletics department, including head football coach Gus Malzahn, head men's basketball coach Bruce Pearl and athletic director Allen Greene, joined in a Black Lives Matter protest on Sunday.

Giana Han of AL.com shared images and video of the proceedings, including when Pearl took a knee outside the Auburn Police Department:

Giana Han @giana_jade

Coach Malzahn, AD Allen Greene and his family, and many of their athletes march in the #auburn4change #BlackLivesMattter protest: https://t.co/xpnsSWwjJc

Giana Han @giana_jade

Bruce pearl kneels outside the auburn police department at the #auburn4change #BlackLivesMattters march: https://t.co/8iHN1ofkpt

Giana Han @giana_jade

Auburn athletes and staff make a strong showing at the #BlackLivesMattters march: https://t.co/rdMWpjAp9u

Auburn Gold Mine passed along video of Malzahn leading the Tigers football team to the rally:

Auburn Gold Mine @AUGoldMine

Gus Malzahn leads the Auburn football team to the Black Lives Matter rally at Toomer’s Corner on Sunday. https://t.co/a8TPNNoJPU

On May 29, Pearl tweeted, "Let's call it out when it's wrong and unacceptable and hold folks accountable. Then through love and understanding, prayer and practice let's try and improve our world! We can and we must do better!"

Greene, who is the first black athletic director in Auburn history, released a video in which he addressed racism in the country and said, "Issues of racial injustice and systemic inequities are complex, and often leave us angered, confused, conflicted and uncertain as to how to produce meaningful dialogue."

Allen Greene @AGreeneIV

“Issues of racial injustice and systemic inequities are complex, and often leave us angered, confused, conflicted and uncertain as to how to produce meaningful dialogue.” We must do better! We will do better! #WarEagle https://t.co/unzZx8dLi5

Malzahn reacted to Greene's comments, saying, "We need to use our influence for positive change in our country which is much needed right now."

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Coach Gus Malzahn @CoachGusMalzahn

Great words from our leader Allen Greene! I agree 100 percent. We need to use our influence for positive change in our country which is much needed right now. Our student-athletes deserve it. Their children, grandchildren and future generations deserve it! https://t.co/bVFcvYjHHu

The protest at Auburn, as well as many more across the country and even the world, came in the wake of the killing of George Floyd on May 25. Video captured by a bystander showed former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes as Floyd said he couldn't breathe and pleaded for his life.

The protests have aimed to address police brutality and racial injustice in the country.

Chauvin was charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, while the other three officers involved in the arrest—J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao—were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.

Josh Vitale of the Montgomery Advertiser noted there was also a protest at Auburn's Toomer's Corner last Sunday that featured a number of Tigers athletes and coaches.

Vitale also pointed out many Auburn athletes, including linebacker Chandler Wooten, linebacker O.C. Brothers, defensive back Traivon Leonard, quarterback Bo Nix, offensive lineman Keiondre Jones, softball player Alyssa Rivera and gymnast Sam Cerio, have been vocal about the need for change on Twitter.

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