The head coaches of the two most prominent teams for the University of Wisconsin Badgers, football coach Paul Chryst and men’s basketball coach Greg Gard, delivered statements on Monday about the murder of George Floyd and the effect it has had on the Madison community.
“I’m frustrated and disappointed that we as a society are not better than this. What happened to George Floyd is unspeakable but yet is all too common. Every person is important but for too long many in the black community have not been treated as such. If we are really going to affect change, then it’s going to take everyone. We need to be better, individually and collectively. Our priority as a football program is to ensure everyone feels safe and valued and my commitment to our players remains helping them grown in their journeys as students, athletes and men.”
Gard, the men’s basketball coach said:
“We must be better. All of us.
I am saddened and sit in disbelief that in the year 2020, our society and our nation is not better. The racial inequalities and injustices that exist in our communities across our country belong to all of us.
We talk about leadership a lot in sports. Leadership is about accountability, commitment, and ownership. Yes, we all have to take ownership but we must be equally committed to make this world a better place. Change is paramount to an improving future. One of the bedrocks to a change for the better is through education and awareness. We all have the responsibility to do better so our country is a better place for those who will come after us.
I can’t, and won’t pretend to know what it’s like to be a black person in America. Speaking up and listening is important, but what matters most is finding proof in our future actions. Actions that are positive, purposeful, helpful and continue long after these current events fade. We will continue to work directly with our Inclusion & Engagement department and campus to make sure that commitment is consistent and far reaching.
As humans, we all need to be dedicated to impacting change in our own communities. We need to be dedicated to fixing our morale [SIC] compasses and living and leading with empathy, respect, love and understanding for all cultures.”
These statements were made a few days after athletic director Barry Alvarez spoke out against the murder of George Floyd.
Statement from Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez pic.twitter.com/KS8Al5aFsr— Wisconsin Badgers (@UWBadgers) May 29, 2020
A number of current and former Badgers also had thoughts, including former Wisconsin hockey player K’Andre Miller who recently had a Zoom call interrupted by racists:
Now is the time! Although our country is in pain and facing chaos, there is a tremendous opportunity for every person to be a part of the generation that makes real change.— Garrett Groshek (@garrettgro37) May 31, 2020
End the cycle of violence. Justice & Equality for Everyone!#BeDifferent #InspirePeopleImpactLives
Sometimes no matter how much you explain something to somebody they will never truly understand ♂️— James White (@SweetFeet_White) June 1, 2020