CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - We have seen Carolina Panthers players at peaceful protest in Charlotte and today we heard strong word from head coach Matt Rhule as he spoke out against racism. And Panthers owner David Tepper is behind all of them 100%.
The Panthers organization released a heart felt statement to the Floyd family back on Saturday and Tepper made sure it was a unified message.
“What I thought was great was that Mr. Tepper made sure that the player impact committee and our players were engaged and involved,” said Panthers head coach Matt Rhule. “That was a statement from all of us. To talk about Mr. Floyd, to talk about his death was important to honor him in that small way.”
Coach has encouraged his players to get out and use their platforms as professional athletes to speak out against racism and social injustice. A handful showed up at Freedom Park on Monday for the Justice Walk for George Floyd and that certainly brought some pride to their new head coach. But coach hopes all of this protest can provoke action to create change and he wonders himself what he can do to bring on that change.
“I have so much respect for coach (Anthony) Lynn of the (Los Angeles) Chargers. He said it yesterday so eloquently. ‘I want to do more than just talk’ and that hit me. I think we are all here in the organization trying to figure out what can we do because we can’t look back in 10 years and say nothing great came from this. It can’t happen.”
While coach doesn’t have all the answers, he knows big change can’t happen until one changes himself. When we do look back on this years from now, he worries how it will be reflected in the history books. He prefers to be on the side of those against racism.
“I can’t shy away from this moment and I don’t think any of us can shy away from this moment,” said coach. “It’s time for a fundamental change. It’s important that we make statements, but it’s really important that those statements lead to discourse which leads to action. As white men, as white women, as white people, whom I sometime feel are afraid to participate in the discussion. It’s time for us to do so. It’s time for us to also not tell our black brothers and sisters or people of any ethnic group how they should feel. I want my kids and grand kids to look back one day and say my mom and dad were on the right side of history. I’m proud of my team. I’m proud of the guys that have gone out and used their voices, have used their influence to try and make change.”