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Texas A&M AD, coaches issue statements on protests

Texas A&M AD, coaches issue statements on protests

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Texas A&M’s staff and coaches, led by athletic director Ross Bjork, have pledged their support to create change with a three-step pledge. A&M men’s basketball coach Buzz Williams took to twitter Sunday to comment and women’s basketball coach Gary Blair issued a statement Monday.

“As human beings, our hearts break as we mourn the loss and senseless murders of Mr. George Floyd, Mr. Ahmaud Arbery, Ms. Breonna Taylor, and countless others who have lost their lives to acts of racism and hate. Our hearts break for members of the African-American community and any other community who have had to endure social injustice, racism, discrimination, and systemic oppression. Many of our student-athletes, coaches, staff, and families have been and are affected everyday by different atrocities, and unfortunately live in the undercurrent of fear and trepidation every single day.

This must change.

As leaders in college athletics, higher education, the state of Texas, and the United States, we must be part of the solution and chart a new course for what lies ahead. Now, more than ever, we must come together as human beings, and all of us in the Texas A&M Athletics family are committed to live this out.

By signing below, you commit to:

1, Educate yourself on the history of our country, injustices and current events.

2, Engage in healthy dialogue in your community to learn about and empathize with others.

3, Help Aggie Athletics provide opportunities of growth and learning for our student-athletes, coaches and staff.

Our vision is that these three simple actions will begin to help bridge the racial and equality gap that has existed in our country for far too long, while reinforcing that each and every one of us has been created equal and should be treated with honor, dignity, and respect.

Sports have always been a platform to bring people and communities together, and the leadership position of Texas A&M Athletics can accelerate this unification. We will love others, foster a positive culture and rely on our core values to be better human beings and educators of young people.” – TEXAS A&M ATHLETICS

“Almost 50 years ago, I had the opportunity to teach and coach basketball at Dallas South Oak Cliff, an all-black high school in the heart of the city. The school gave me a chance to start my career, and the people of South Oak Cliff took me in and made me feel like family. I owe everything to the city, the school and the incredible community for teaching me what mutual respect is all about. I did not see color in my student-athletes and in my students — I only saw tremendous young men and women full of potential. I did see color in these young men in other ways, however, and in doing so, I learned to value and appreciate that we all bring different perspectives and experiences into each other’s lives. We are a stronger society when we listen and learn from each other.

My heart breaks for the young women in our program and our coaches who are angry, confused and saddened by incidents of the past few weeks, and now, the death of George Floyd. Unfortunately, for many of them and their families, this is not the first time that they must ask, why? We all should be asking why, regardless of our race or ethnicity. I may never fully understand what it means to be black in America, but I certainly know injustice when I see it. It is incumbent upon all of us to do our part to reach a greater understanding, a stronger mutual respect and a more just path forward. With our young generation stepping up and raising their voices, I am hopeful that future generations will never know the pain of racism.

I am here, WE are here, for our student-athletes, their families and Former Students as well, and will always be.” — GARY BLAIR, Texas A&M women’s basketball coach Gary Blair.

“I am sad and heartbroken at all of the racial inequality and senseless violence that has transpired this week, yet again in our country. The social injustice has continued for far too long, and much too frequently. I feel so much anger, that I struggle articulating my thoughts and emotions. But in truth, cannot imagine the depth of true sorrow and pain involved, because I am not African American, and have never experienced it firsthand.

I cannot pretend to have all the answers, but am convinced now more than ever, that I must find more ways to help and support all of our players, the families represented in our program, and in our community. I am compelled to be part of the solution that helps end the cycle of these inhuman acts. I want to make sure that our program is an agent of change in the ongoing fight against racism.

Speaking out and posting on social media is important and has value but the change must come from more than words. It is the responsibility of all of us to work daily to demonstrate that love is more powerful than hate, in order to enact change for this generation and the next.

I am praying for all of those that have been impacted in so many ways by these tragedies.” - BUZZ WILLIAMS, Texas A&M men’s basketball coach.

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