HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - The University of Southern Mississippi football team did not practice Friday as players marched in protest of “instances of racial injustice in our country.”
USM players issued a statement via Twitter on Friday morning, saying that “we are standing up against racial injustices and extending our brotherhood to actively speak out against racism.”
The Golden Eagles began their march at 5 p.m. from M.M. Roberts Stadium to the front of campus “to stand in solidarity.”
“With social injustice in America, it’s something that’s heavy on our players’ hearts,” said USM head coach Jay Hopson. “It’s been a great day. Our players, we had a great meeting. This is something that’s important to our players and our coaches and as coaches we support our players 100 percent.”
“Coach Hop responded as any great man would and was like he’s behind us all the way,” said USM junior linebacker Devin Thomas. “That just makes us want to play for him even more. We’ve been reluctant to say something because of what people may say. But now, it’s time for us to not be so silent anymore.”
The USM players protest comes a day after Mississippi State University football players skipped practice to march.
Professional teams have declined to play to protest the police-involved shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis.
According to reports, Blake, a Black man, was shot seven times in the back while Kenosha police officers were trying to detain him.
Games in the National Basketball Association, Women’s National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball, National Hockey League and Major League Soccer have been postponed to protest Blake’s shooting as players call for social justice.