Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores told his players they have the right to protest and show their emotions following the killing of George Floyd, and he urged them to be careful if they choose to attend protests in their cities.
Flores, during a video conference on Thursday, said he was "a good friend" of former University of Indiana football player Chris Beaty, who was shot and killed in Indianapolis on Saturday night.
Lance Bennett, who is Flores' assistant and close friend, played football with Beaty at Indiana.
Flores said Beaty, whom he remembered as being "full of life," was protesting in Indianapolis. Indianapolis police could not confirm if the shooting was connected to the downtown demonstrations.
"He was an incredible human being. It's sad," Flores said. "It's another tragedy that we're dealing with. Hopefully we learn from it and again make the necessary changes so that these things don't happen again."
Beaty's death was the first thing that came to Flores' mind when he thought about his own players participating in protests.
"My No. 1 thing for guys is they have a right to protest. That's important," Flores said. "Everyone's got a right to protest, but even more than that, it's about being careful. I want my players to be careful. I've had a lot of conversations with players over the last few days. I support those guys. I understand the emotion, what they're going through. But at the same time, I want them to be smart. I care about each one of these guys. I had a situation hit home pretty closely for me, so there's some fear on my end, to be honest with you."
Dolphins safety Kavon Frazier participated in a peaceful protest on Monday in Frisco, Texas. Other Dolphins players have been active on social media, using their voices to plead for justice and change.
Proud of Frisco. Thousands of ppl came out today to protest. Safe, non-violent, and purposeful. They probably won't show that in the media but I was proud to be apart of it. Let's keep working towards change.— Kavon Frazier (@Kay_BlackSimba) June 2, 2020
Flores has talked with his players about the wide range of emotions they are facing after Floyd, a black man, was killed in Minneapolis on May 25 when police officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, kneeled on the back of Floyd's neck for more than eight minutes.
Chauvin, who was fired May 26, has been charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The other three officers on the scene -- Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao -- have been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, according to criminal complaints.
After speaking his own mind about the recent killings of Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, Flores presented the platform for his players to do the same -- as long as they make sure to stay safe.
"We're watching. We're dealing with a pandemic. People are hungry. People are out of jobs," Flores said. "... People are angry as well, so there's got to be time to be angry, have a platform to show their emotions. They have that with me, they have that with our coaching staff.
"We've had conversations just like everyone else had. But at the same time, these guys, they've been working also. They've been working on football. That's been a kind of a place to get away for a little bit. But, yeah, our hearts and minds are with the Floyd family and the Arbery family and Breonna Taylor. It seems like we have to share our condolences. These guys, they have my support. I know it's an emotional time."