Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores questioned Friday why many who criticized NFL players for kneeling during the U.S. national anthem to protest social injustice have been less vocal about police killings of black civilians including George Floyd.
Floyd died Monday in Minneapolis after Derek Chauvin, a white officer, held his knee on Floyd's neck for over eight minutes. Chauvin was arrested Friday and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter after several days of public outrage and riots.
Flores, one of four minority head coaches in the NFL, addressed racial injustice in a statement issued through the Dolphins:
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.