American Athletic Conference Media Day: Coaches and Players on Social Issues

I'm here with coach Nick prone into the Cincinnati Bearcats you of course lead a lot um an have you talked to them about issues outside of sports or how they want to express themselves and how they should do that well we talk a lot about what they need what they're gonna need to do to be successful you know with with our guys a little bit different than the pro athlete that's already got a bank account a house and a car you know my guys are or have hopes and dreams and they're wondering who's gonna who's gonna pay their bills and where they gonna live when they got to get out there you know in their senior year comes up so we spend most of our time with our guys on what it's like to be an adult they don't know what property tax is you know things things of this nature what it's like to own a home and all that goes into it we spent a lot of time talking about that as far as the social issues they know my feelings on a lot of that stuff we definitely talked about within our group we talked about you know our feelings on different things and our predominant thing that I try to teach them is life isn't ever don't don't ask for it to be fair it's not gonna be fair okay you got to figure out how you're gonna carve out your own path knowing that you're probably not going to get a fair shake especially with most of my players being african-american that you you have today let's be honest about where we're at what we need to do what we need to overcome what you guys in particular are gonna need to overcome to have success in your life so I'm extremely honest with them about it now I'm here with Houston coach Calvin Sampson obviously in today's day and age we've seen a lot we've seen African American athletes be more outspoken about social justice issues what's been your approach to guiding these young men and also allowing them to express whatever feelings they have about injustice going on in society no when I was in college one of my heroes was Thurgood Marshall and I tell our kids the story about Thurgood Marshall in double-a-c-p and Brown versus the Board of Education Thurgood Marshall's role in that I talked to him about Charlie Scott the first african-american basketball player at the University of North Carolina one of the first in the ACC I talked to him about the sit-ins racial inequality civil rights movement in the 60s because I lived all that I talked to him about Martin Luther King and in the the hope that he gave a lot of people and the sacrifice and a lot of people made so I want our guys to see what's going on in America and voice their opinion talk about it I liked III love talking about it I love educating them I love telling him to get on the internet and look up this guy or that guy and see the role that he made in the civil rights movement and think about where you came from and the people that came before you was I think about that a lot I think about John Thompson at Georgetown John Chaney at Temple Nolan Richardson at Arkansas because when I was a young coach those were the guys I looked up to because they looked most like me we've seen a lot of professional athletes speak out about social justice issues how have you looked at players like LeBron James Serena Williams and other athletes and do you think that's something that you would also want to take part in in terms of talking about some of the issues happening outside sports I think it's great it makes it sports community very well and when people like that take part of what's going on in a real world and I think you kind of just have to appreciate people like LeBron James Serena Williams who were kind of using their platform to spread justice equality all over the world so and most definitely if I was in the in a situation where where my voice would weigh on people's opinions most definitely I would speak out for people who were being treated unjust for us just being proactive three years ago at Rhode Island you know we got together as you know as a lot of these things were coming to light we got together and talked about it as a team and you know our response was that we wanted to interlock arms during the national anthem we did it our last two to three years there I think our last two years we did it without much fanfare you know the media maybe didn't pick up on it you know but that was something that we chose to do was to show unity togetherness player player coach player player coach the coaches weren't all lined up at one em players we were we were kind of you know unified in Durney anthem and you know we showed our respect for the anthem but we also you know showed our desire to promote promote unity because sports is you know there's nothing like the huddle in sports and if you're fortunate like I was able to grow up in Jersey City and plates and anthing in high school you just you never saw color you just saw people I think that every kid has a right to express themselves I don't think that's wrong you know they're right just tell them don't be dumb or over overboard with it you know you can do it with class and this just leave it there you don't have to get radical or anything like that you just have to do it in class

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