Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores, one of four minority NFL head coaches, wants to help create change and a higher level of understanding. Following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, who are all African American, Flores released a statement to ESPN on Friday morning.
Flores said he has been deeply affected by "the tragedies of the last few weeks." Floyd, 46, died Monday after a Minneapolis police officer put his knee on Floyd's neck to pin him to the ground. Floyd's death has shaken the Midwestern city and sparked protests in cities across the United States.
A number of athletes have spoken out in the wake of that news, including most recently Philadelphia Eagles players Carson Wentz and Zach Ertz. NBA stars LeBron James, Stephen Jackson, Jaylen Brown, Donovan Mitchell, NFL stars Odell Beckham Jr. and DeMarcus Lawrence, and Basketball Hall of Famer Lisa Leslie have all expressed via social media their frustrations over Floyd's death.
Here is Flores' full statement:
"I've had the privilege of being a part of many different circles that have included some very powerful and influential people of all different races and genders. The events of the last few weeks have brought some of the memories of those conversations back to light. I vividly remember the Colin Kaepernick conversations. 'Don't ever disrespect the flag' was the phrase that I heard over and over again. This idea that players were kneeling in support of social justice was something some people couldn't wrap their head around. The outrage that I saw in the media and the anger I felt in some of my own private conversations caused me to sever a few long-standing friendships.
"Most recently, I've had conversations about incentivizing teams for hiring minorities. Again, there was some outrage in the media and talks that this would cause division amongst coaches, executives and ownership. I bring these situations up because I haven't seen the same OUTRAGE from people of influence when the conversation turns to Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and most recently George Floyd. Many people who broadcast their opinions on kneeling or on the hiring of minorities don't seem to have an opinion on the recent murders of these young black men and women. I think many of them QUIETLY say that watching George Floyd plead for help is one of the more horrible things they have seen, but it's said amongst themselves where no one can hear. Broadcasting THAT opinion clearly is not important enough.
"I lead a group of young men who have the potential to make a real impact in this world. My message to them and anyone else who wants to listen is that honesty, transparency, and empathy go a long way in bringing people together and making change. I hope that the tragedies of the last few weeks will open our hearts and minds to a better way of communicating and hopefully create that change."