On Thursday, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach Bruce Arians conducted a videoconference, his first meeting with the media since the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the resulting protests and unrest across the United States. Arians urged those working for change to maintain their momentum once the mass protests stopped.
"It's sickening. We all know when we see something that's horrific and wrong, and the events – especially the last three events – are wrong. They're murders. Hopefully justice will be served quickly. There are times that I think we haven't made any progress since 1968, when the national guard was rolling down the streets of my hometown and what went on then…the murder of Dr. [Martin Luther] King [Jr.] and Bobby Kennedy.
"And I think right now I love the fact that people are upset and are raising their voices, but don't stop. It's one thing to march and protest, but it's another thing to take action. When the protesting's over, I would urge everyone to take action. Do something positive to help the situation. Don't just go back to being silent, because then it's going to happen again."
More from Arians on the current situation and how he and his players will continue to address the issues at hand:
On the difficulty of having conversations with players regarding recent events while everyone is separated:
"Yeah, that's the hardest part. As an organization, we've done a great job with our social justice program. It started in 2018 and I know the guys – Ali [Marpet], Donovan [Smith], Bradley [Pinion] and Carlton [Davis] – who are on that board are reaching out to all our players to have conversations and see what as a group they can do to help situations, and as a group try to find some answers as to what we can do as a team. But for me personally, it's so much easier when it's face-to-face, obviously. I talked to some of our young guys and some of our veterans, and hopefully when we get back together we will have some answers on what we can do to continue to improve the situation."
On how he feels personally about current events:
"It's very disheartening. Like I said, growing up in it and being a part of it personally, you would hope that we would not be in 2020 still dealing with these issues. We would have hoped as a nation to have grown since 1968. I think we have but not enough, obviously. [I've been] researching these last couple days for what I can do more and I found a website [called joincampaignzero.com]. I joined up and tried to send that message to all our players it might be something they're interested in. Try to help change more than just what we've done so more. The other thing, it just sickens me that there were over 20 children killed at the hands of people looking over them in the last month. That hasn't changed enough either. Child abuse is still something that's rampant. Prejudice and social injustice is still…there's so much more to do that's not getting done."
On how he can help his minority players get heard on social issues:
"Yeah, I think that's normal. We always have meetings when things like this happen and everybody gets to voice their opinions. It's a collective group. What's best for us? I think the biggest thing is, it's us. I think those things are really hard right now because of having to do it virtually, and this is not the same. You don't get the same impact from being able to stand up in front of your peers and speak your piece and have a collective good growth moment."